Officials deny statute of limitations is running out for Flint water crisis criminal charges

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On Thursday, VICE published a bombshell report that suggested, among many explosive allegations, former Gov. Rick Snyder knew of the Flint water crisis long before he said he did in a Congressional testimony. The report comes nearly six years since the disastrous decision to switch the city's water source was made, which set the crisis in motion. The story's kicker has citizens wondering if they will ever see justice, noting that last year Attorney General Dana Nessel fired top prosecutors and investigators pursuing the case and dropped charges against Snyder officials because the probe was "flawed."

On Friday, officials released a press release seemingly responding to the allegations.

Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy issued a statement, maintaining that justice will be served and denying that the statute of limitations runs out this month — though they declined to provide specifics.

The statement is curious, however, because earlier this year two Flint lawmakers proposed legislation that would extend the statute of limitations for misconduct in office, citing the impending closing window.

Metro Times asked a spokeswoman for the Attorney General about the discrepancy. "At this time, the statement must stand on its own," she said. "Happy to follow up when we’re in a position to share more details." 

The statement reads:

“As we approach six years since the water switch in Flint, we must remember the ongoing struggle of the people of Flint, and their resiliency in the face of a man-made disaster that will span generations. But they did not volunteer to serve as a cautionary tale of government gone wrong. This fate was imposed on them by a series of actions and inactions that created the historic injustice of the Flint Water Crisis.

"From the outset, our team committed to a complete investigation of the Flint Water Crisis, using all investigative means at our disposal. We committed to professional prosecution of anyone criminally responsible for this man-made crisis and the resulting death, injury and trauma experienced by the people of Flint. Despite the challenges posed to our state by the COVID-19 pandemic, the current state of emergency will not prevent us from pursuing justice.

"April 25, 2014, is a significant date in the history of the Flint Water Crisis. However, we want to correct the misconception that April 25, 2020 is the deadline to bring charges against those who may be criminally liable. Criminal statutes of limitations vary depending on the offense and the date of the alleged criminal act. Though we cannot comment on the specifics of our investigation, we remain on track, and we are delivering on our commitment to the people of Flint.”

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About The Author

Lee DeVito

Leyland "Lee" DeVito grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, where he read Metro Times religiously due to teenaged-induced boredom. He became a contributing writer for Metro Times in 2009, and Editor in Chief in 2016. In addition to writing, he also supplies occasional illustrations. His writing has been published...
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