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15 June 2017, 03:01 | Lena Norman
Michigan health chief charged in Flint water probe
"Today's announcement that additional state officials will face criminal charges is an indictment of the state's failed policies that led to this crisis", Congressman Dan Kildee, a Democrat of Flint Township, said in a statement.
The head of the Michigan Department of Health was charged with involuntary manslaughter and misconduct in connection with the lead water crisis that has plagued Flint for years and irreversibly altered families living there for generations to come. The misconduct charge accuses Lyon of stopping a study that could have identified the disease.
A joint statement from Chip Chamberlain and Larry Willey of Willey Chamberlain Law, the Grand Rapids-based firm representing Lyon, reads "the true facts simply do not support the prosecution's claims".
"The state and the Governor created this crisis and they must do more to help Flint's recovery".
The charges most likely stem from 12 deaths linked to Legionnaires' disease, which is caused by bacteria that can be harbored in mismanaged water systems and that are particularly unsafe in large buildings.
The involuntary manslaughter charge stems from an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease, a type of pneumonia, that spread in the city following its switch in water source. The most serious counts have been levied against Michigan's top health official and four others, who were charged Wednesday with involuntary manslaughter. A message seeking comment was left for Lyon's attorneys.
December 29, 2015: Snyder accepts the resignation of Department of Environmental Quality Director Dan Wyant and apologizes for what occurred in Flint. They have my full faith and confidence, and will remain on duty at DHHS. Lead from old plumbing leached into the water system, causing a massive lead contamination crisis. Residents either had to consume the dirty water or rely on bottled water while the cleanup effort was underway.
Lyon has admitted that he was aware of the Legionnaires' outbreak for months but wanted to delay saying anything public until state Health and Human Services Department investigators finished their own probe.
January 5, 2016: Snyder declares a state of emergency in Flint, the same day federal officials confirm that they are investigating.
"We will turn to the prosecution of this investigation", he said in at a morning news conference.
Lyon's failure to act resulted in the death of at least one person, 85-year-old Robert Skidmore, special agent Jeff Seipenko said in court.
Five people have been charged with involuntary manslaughter in MI in an investigation of Flint's water crisis. After Kilgore told Lyon that decision could cause more people to die, Lyon allegedly responded that he "couldn't save everyone", and "they have to die of something", the report said.
Others charged with involuntary manslaughter on Wednesday included former state-appointed emergency manager Darnell Earley, former Flint city employee Howard Croft, and former state Department of Environmental Quality officials Stephen Busch and Liane Shekter-Smith.
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