Right Hooks

Manslaughter Charges Forthcoming in Flint, Michigan?

Don't be surprised.

Jordan Candler · Feb. 10, 2016

Will the water contamination debacle in Flint, Michigan, land someone in a prison cell facing manslaughter charges? Only time will tell, but don’t be surprised. Yesterday, investigator Todd Flood declared, “We’re here to investigate what possible crimes there are, anything [from] involuntary manslaughter or death that may have happened to some young person or old person because of this poisoning, to misconduct in office.” The Washington Post adds that “Flood said that the severest possible charge, manslaughter, was ‘not far-fetched.’ He compared charging officials with manslaughter over the water crisis to charging construction workers with the same crime for leaving open manholes unattended, resulting in death.” The problem is that it’s tough to pinpoint this on any single individual — though investigators will surely try.

As we recently chronicled, the situation in Flint is largely the culmination of government ineptitude. The city made a fiscal decision to cut ties with Detroit and get its water from Lake Huron instead. But while the pipeline to get water from point A to point B undergoes construction, the current water supply is coming from the toxic Flint River. Unfortunately, poor quality control and a crumbling infrastructure resulted in serious health issues ranging from lead poisoning to possibly Legionnaires’ disease. And all across America, the conservative cost estimate to prevent a similar situation from unfolding is $356 billion — which will probably show up in your water bills down the road. Who knows if there will be manslaughter charges. But if there are, the double standard will be nothing to wash over. After all, the EPA’s own Renewable Fuel Standard kills up 245 adults prematurely. Not to mention it has its own problems containing toxic sludge.

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