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Michigan Official Charged With Homicide Over Flint Water Crisis

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Artist representation of Nick Lyon.

The Flint Water Crisis is far from over.

In terms of holding local and state officials responsible for their parts in the crisis, for many Flint residents, the wheels of justice seem to be moving at an excruciatingly sluggish pace.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHH) Director Nick Lyon is due back in court to face charges for his role in the Flint Water Crisis.

Lyon is accused of 1 count of Homicide/Involuntary Manslaughter; and 1 count of Misconduct in Office. Both are felony charges. Lyon is the highest ranking government employee to be criminally charged, and the first to face manslaughter charges.

Special prosecutor Todd Flood is arguing that that negligence was caused by decisions made by Nick Lyon who failed to notify the public about suspicions that Legionnaires’ outbreaks in Genesee County were related to the Flint water.

Genesee County District Judge David Goggins ruled that there was probable cause to move forward with the case and the preliminary investigation began last month on Sept. 21.

The preliminary examination is due to resume for day 4 today, Friday, October 6.

Lyon has plead not guilty to the criminal charges.

Legionnaires’ experts have testified that Lyon knew about and should have done more to notify the public about the life-threatening public health emergency. According to official counts, at least 12 individuals have died of Legionella in connection with contamination in the Flint water. Stats connected to a rise in pneumonia around this time period could make the unofficial count higher.

Robert Skidmore is one of the men who died after being exposed to the city water in 2015 and contracting Legionella. Lyon is accused of helping to cause Skidmore’s death in December of that year.

There are 13 pending criminal cases in the Genesee District Court – Lyon’s is the first of 13.

Laura MacIntyre will be covering the ongoing testimony as it unfolds.  Check back later for updates.

 

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