Michigan health chief charged in Flint water probe

The Flint Water Crisis has led to more criminal charges and they now reach high levels of state government.

Charging documents allege that Lyon neglected to alert the public about an outbreak of legionnaires disease, a respiratory bacterial infection that can be deadly, and which experts have linked to corrosive and contaminated water.

Schuette believes Lyon's silence makes him culpable in the death of area resident Robert Skidmore, and the attorney general has charged the health director with involuntary manslaughter, a 15-year felony. But the lead wasn't the only issue with the water after the switch: A Legionnaire's disease outbreak overtook Genesee County, where Flint sits, and killed 12 people in 2015 and 2016.

Lyon was apparently told about the problem of Legionnaires's disease in January 2015 but didn't warn the public until nearly a year later, per the state attorney general's office.

Involuntary manslaughter is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. And 10 state officials - including two state-appointed emergency managers assigned to oversee Flint, a state epidemiologist and the former leader of the state municipal drinking water office - faced charges.

Mr Lyon is alleged to have known for almost a year of the deadly outbreak and had "deliberately failed to inform the public" which resulted in Mr Skidmore's death. Lyon was also charged with a single count of misconduct while in office.

Rick Pluta, Capitol Bureau Chief for Michigan Public Radio Network, joins Stephen Henderson on Detroit Today to discuss the implications of the new charges.

The head of the MI health department, Nick Lyon, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter in Flint's lead-tainted water crisis.

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Schuette said he couldn't elaborate on why he was unable to interview Snyder, Michigan's Republican governor since 2011.

Among the Schuette critics is Flint native and filmmaker Michael Moore, who tweeted Wednesday that "Michigan Attorney General fails to arrest Michigan's governor for poisoning the people of Flint".

Lyon is also accused of obstructing researchers studying if the rise in Legionnaires cases was linked to the Flint River.

The attorney general's office said that five state and city officials had been charged with manslaughter, including Lyon, former Flint emergency manager, Darnell Earle, and three other low-ranking officials.

The Flint water crisis is now in its fourth year, and those allegedly responsible now face involuntary manslaughter charges.

A failure to treat the water properly also caused lead contamination in the water supply for the city of 100,000. They were previously charged with lesser offenses stemming from the water crisis.

The situation in Flint became a national scandal after the water crisis played out in plain sight for months while the state refused to acknowledge it.

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