Two weeks after the stunning move to drop all criminal charges against the remaining eight government officials who had been criminally charged in connection to the Flint Water Crisis, the prosecutors again are defending their position.
Michigan Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud and Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy addressed about 100 residents at a town hall held Friday, June 30.
“We have received information that is absolutely relevant to our investigation that we have never had before,” Hammoud told frustrated residents, according to The Associated Press.
Hammoud, who took over the investigation of the city’s lead-poisoned water at the top of the year, also pointed out prosecutors must comb through 20 million documents that her team discovered in a month’s time. She added that past investigators failed to find the files in three years. According to the New York Daily News, Hammoud added that part of the problem was with Andy Arena, the former director of the Detroit FBI. He, she said, did not adequately manage the searches for the documents.
“We can’t tell you where we’re going to go, we can’t tell you where it’s going to lead, we’re going to go where the facts and evidence lead us,” Worthy said at the meeting. “I know that’s been repetitive but that’s the truth. Anything else would be irresponsible.”
As the prosecutors addressed the community, members expressed their issues.
Pleading for justice, Marijoyce Campbell tearfully said, “please, please tell me some heads are going to roll, that somebody is going to pay for all this murder, all this criminal activity.”
Discussing defendants who pleaded no contest in the case, Arthur Woodson said they, “got less time for poisoning over 98,000 people than somebody stealing a slice of pizza. People have died. … I have PTSD. It’s hard to trust. But what I heard here today: Y’all have been totally honest.”
Howard Croft, Patrick Cook, Eden Wells, Gerald Ambrose, Darnell Earley, Nancy Peeler, Robert Scott and Nick Lyon are the eight government officials in Michigan that had their charges — including multiple counts of involuntary manslaughter — dropped last month.
However, that does not mean any of the former defendants are off the hook — they could get charges refiled against them as a new probe is underway. When announcing the dropped charges last month, Hammoud and Worthy noted, “the voluntary dismissal is not a determination of any defendant’s criminal responsibility.”
But if prosecutors want to re-file charges, they’re up against a nine-month deadline for a felony indictment. That’s when the statute of limitations on misconduct in office will be up.
“We cannot provide the citizens of Flint the investigation they so rightly deserve by continuing to build on a flawed foundation,” Worthy and Hammound said in a joint statement last month of the new investigation.
In statement explaining the dismissed charges stemmed from issues wit the last probe, Attorney General Dana Nessel said, “Justice delayed is not always justice denied.”