Flint Water Prosecutors Drop Criminal Charges, With Plans to Keep Investigating - The New York Times
Cette affaire de la pollution de l’eau à Flint est vraiment un cas d’école... jusqu’au bout ! La santé publique mérite l’intervention des citoyens, partout dans le monde.
CHICAGO — Prosecutors stunned the city of Flint, Mich., on Thursday by dropping all pending charges against officials accused of ruining the community’s drinking water and ignoring signs of a crisis, casting doubt on what some residents had seen as a small but tangible step toward justice.
Fifteen state and local officials, including emergency managers who ran the city and a member of the governor’s cabinet, had been accused by state prosecutors of crimes as serious as involuntary manslaughter. Seven had already taken plea deals. Eight more, including most of the highest-ranking officials, were awaiting trial.
On Thursday, more than three years after the first charges were filed, the Michigan attorney general’s office, which earlier this year passed from Republican to Democratic hands, abruptly dropped the eight remaining cases. Prosecutors left open the possibility of recharging some of those same people, and perhaps others, too.
But in Flint, a city where faith in government was already low and where many residents still refuse to drink the tap water, the news was seen by some as a sign that they had been wronged once again.
Ronald F. Wright, a criminal law professor at Wake Forest University, said it was not uncommon for newly elected prosecutors to drop cases brought by their predecessors. But it was far more unusual, he said, for them to suggest that they might file new charges.
“You inherit the file, you start looking through it, and the deeper you get in the file, the more you realize there are possible weak spots in your case,” Mr. Wright said. “I view this as a natural process of a new chief prosecutor becoming familiar with the details of the case.”
Ms. Nessel, the new attorney general, defended her prosecutors’ decision to drop the charges, but she also sought to reassure Flint residents. “I want to remind the people of Flint that justice delayed is not always justice denied,” she said.
That message was a tough sell for some in Flint, where residents said they had waited for years for justice and been disappointed with the results. Monica Galloway, a member of the Flint City Council, called the decision a setback on Thursday and said she hoped new charges would be filed.
“I think anyone that lives in the city of Flint that is affected by this wants justice,” Ms. Galloway said. “And justice can only be done if this is not just redone, but done properly.”