Three Officials Charged With Evidence Tampering in Flint Water Crisis

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Two officials from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and a Flint city employee were charged with misdemeanors and felonies on Wednesday for their role in the water crisis that poisoned the city.

Flint employee Michael Glasgow and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality employees Steven Busch and Michael Prysby became the first to be charged in relation to the scandal.

MLive reports:

“Glasgow is accused of tampering with evidence when he allegedly changed testing results to show there was less lead in city water than there actually was. He is also charged with willful neglect of office. Prysby and Busch are charged with misconduct in office, conspiracy to tamper with evidence, tampering with evidence, a treatment violation of the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act and a monitoring violation of the Safe Drinking Water.”

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Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office alleges that both Prysby and Busch deliberately misled Environmental Protection Agency regulator Miguel Del Toral by claiming falsely that proper corrosion control was being used, as well as impeding an investigation into the Legionella outbreak that killed 12 people. They are also accused of manipulating lead test results to falsely make it appear that the city’s water was safe.

If convicted on the tampering charge, Glasgow could face up to four years in prison. Busch and Prysby are facing up to five years for misconduct. Warrants for the arrests of all three men were issued on Wednesday.

The contamination of Flint’s water began in April 2014, when the city stopped receiving its supply from Detroit, instead shifting to water taken directly from the Flint River, a source known to have a high corrosive salt content. Corrosive salts in the water damaged the pipes, which contain lead, causing that material to be released into the water.

In October, the state changed the city’s drinking water source back from the polluted Flint River to the Detroit water system.

For a period of at least six months, the EPA and Michigan officials were aware of the poisoning of Flint’s water, but did not publicize their concerns.

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