Flint Lawmaker Says Water Crisis Criminal Charges Continue Path Toward Justice

State Senate Democratic Leader and Flint resident Jim Ananich shares his reaction to the criminal charges against state government officials, including former Gov. Rick Snyder, for their alleged roles in the Flint water crisis.

Seven years after the disastrous decision to switch Flint’s water source, nine current and former state government officials face criminal charges. One of them is former Governor Rick Snyder, who faces two misdemeanor counts of willful neglect of duty. Others include Snyder’s former fixer Rich Baird, former Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon, former Michigan Chief Medical Executive Eden Wells and former Flint Emergency Managers Darnell Earley and Gerald Ambrose. The question of how close this gets us to justice for victims of the water crisis may never be answered.

Listen: Could some level of criminal accountability for what happened in Flint set an important precedent?


State Senate Democratic Leader Jim Ananich — a Flint resident — shares his reaction to the criminal charges, saying, “I completely understand Flint residents’ feelings… I think a lot of folks watched (Snyder’s) actions… a lot of people wanted to see him charged with murder… from a legal standpoint I think that’s not realistic.” He adds that he does understand the anger and frustration felt by many residents.

As far as the dollars attached to the lawsuits over the handling of the water crisis, Ananich says it’s significant. “Potentially the amount of money residents will get could reach over a billion. As the courts play out, I think we’ll have reached a fair amount of justice… (but) there will be some people who feel like we never got justice,” he says. In assessing the state’s current model of Michigan’s emergency manager law, Ananich says that “the current system we have in Michigan is broken… You can’t leave cities and schools with no resources and then wonder why they can’t perform functions we expect.” 

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