Former Flint mayor is 'disappointed' charges against Snyder weren't more severe

Flickr Creative Commons, U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Then-Mayor Karen Weaver in 2018.

Count former Flint Mayor Karen Weaver among those who were pleased to see the recent criminal charges filed against ex-Governor Rick Snyder and eight others in the ongoing fallout of the city's water crisis

Weaver believes Snyder was right to be charged, but says she believes the charges don't go far enough.

Weaver made the comments on Tuesday on 910am Superstation, the metro Detroit-based radio talk show that recently hired her to host its 8 a.m. hour slot.

In her first show as host, Weaver said she was "disappointed" that the charges for Snyder weren't more severe.

"We had gotten really excited because the first thing we heard was Snyder was going to be charged criminally," Weaver says. "And we were waiting for that. That's one of the things, you know, when people ask, 'What does it look like to make Flint whole?' I said, well, one of the things you need to know is you can never repair the damage that's been done, but [acting] like you want to, and holding people criminally accountable for this, and wanting more than charges... We want convictions. When we heard that, I remember, I felt like, finally, this is finally going to happen."

Weaver called the charges against Snyder — which include two counts of willful neglect of duty, and carry a penalty of $1,000 or a year in prison per charge — a "slap in the face" to the people of Flint.

"You get excited because you, think that, OK, you know, justice is going to be served," she said. "And I know I said, I wanted them to start at the top, and that was the governor. And so many people in Flint want to see that happen."

She added, "Don't get me wrong, I do know that everyone is innocent until proven guilty, but there was so much evidence that he knew beforehand."

According to a recent report by The Intercept, investigators working on the Flint water case honed in on "a flurry of suspicious phone calls" between Snyder, his chief of staff, and his health director in October 2014, as Legionnaires' disease was being detected in Flint — many months before Snyder testified before Congress that he first learned of the outbreak.

That investigation was scrapped in 2019 when the office of Michigan's then-new Attorney General Dana Nessel said it had to start from scratch due to a "flawed" investigation.

Other charges announced include those against Snyder's top aide Richard Baird, his two lead health officials, and former Flint emergency managers Gerald Ambrose and Darnell Earley, among others.

Last year, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced a $600 million settlement for people who were harmed by the Flint water crisis. The majority of the settlement is intended for children, who are most vulnerable to being poisoned by lead that tainted the city's water.

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