Residents outraged after former Governor Snyder and others responsible for Flint water poisoning let off the hook by Michigan Supreme Court

A ruling by the Michigan Supreme Court on Tuesday has resulted in the dismissal of all criminal charges against those responsible for the water poisoning of the population of Flint.

Downtown at dusk where the Flint River crosses

The ruling of the majority of the Michigan justices stated that criminal charges against eight officials cannot stand due the restricted scope of a judge sitting as a one-man grand jury in the case. The court found that a single-judge grand jury has no authority to issue indictments but can only be used to investigate, subpoena and issue warrants.

Hours after the decision, attorneys for former Republican Governor Rick Snyder moved to dismiss all charges against him. 

As of this writing, neither Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer nor Attorney General Dana Nessel had commented on the ruling, which effectively shuts the door on prosecuting those responsible for a massive social crime—which resulted in at least 100 deaths, miscarriages, emotional and mental developmental problems in children and countless lifelong illnesses. 

The switch by government officials, Democratic and Republican alike, to the toxic Flint River in 2014 without adding anti-corrosion treatment was, until the COVID-19 pandemic, the biggest public health catastrophe in US history.

The record shows that the Democratic Party on all levels has aided, abetted and covered up for a monumental social crime. Despite campaign promises in 2018 to hold those responsible for the poisoning of Flint’s water accountable, Whitmer entered the governor’s mansion and effectively wiped the slate clean by dropping all criminal cases, including involuntary manslaughter, more than three years since the first charges were filed.

Nessel declared at the time, “Justice delayed is not justice denied.” Flint residents think otherwise.

Florlisa Fowler, a resident of Flint who has been involved in fighting against the impact of the water crisis since 2014, remarked to the WSWS, “First, Nessel dismissed the charges in 2019, and it’s been a complete whitewash ever since. In my view, going to a one-man grand jury was a stunt that allowed the state to get off the hook with a technicality. They thought they would pull a rabbit out of the hat, and instead they have continued to harm us. The Democratic Party is responsible for this; they are as negligent as the Republican Party. Why were all the charges dropped in 2019? Why weren’t those court proceedings continued?

“The Whitmer administration has been trying to placate us since she came into office in 2018. Many people had faith in the system, in the courts, but there is no justice in the courts.” 

Fowler commented on the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade in relation to the state court’s ruling on Flint. “It means they will not take into account the vast majority who support the right to abortion. I would say the vast majority of people in Flint believe all the officials involved in poisoning us and covering it up should be held accountable, and they should be in jail. But the courts will not do that.

“Decades of precedents are being thrown out. What next? It makes me question the whole system. The courts are part of the system that supports the ruling class, not of the people, by the people or for the people. If we are going to get justice, we have to do it ourselves. We cannot delude ourselves into thinking those responsible for hurting us are going to give us justice.”

Vicki, another Flint resident who is a retired retail worker, noted, “Once again the entire government, the whole system is screwed up. I do not have much to say. ... I knew it was going to happen two months ago. Whitmer and Nessel had absolutely no intention of pursuing charges for any of them. They just want us to go away. The Democrats and the Republicans represent everybody except the people. They’re for the corporations and the money.”

Dr. Marc Edwards, the Virginia Tech civil engineering professor who organized the independent sampling of Flint’s water and exposed the lies of Michigan water authorities, told the WSWS, “Those directly responsible were let off the hook long ago, so I have been skeptical about the entire case ever since. All of that time, money and raised expectations for nothing—it’s a worst case outcome. Maybe this epic story of government failure at all levels, was just destined to end in a fiasco like this…”

Dr. Lawrence Reynolds, the Flint pediatrician who opposed the use of bone scans, especially on children, to determine monetary awards from the ongoing and completely inadequate Flint Water Settlement, said, “I have never followed hearings and trials before which have no determinant end. Charges are filed, all are dropped and on and on. Nothing is settled. It is not what I expect from the justice system, but then I am not really surprised. At least $37 million were spent on the hearings before they were dropped by Whitmer’s administration. Behind the Flint water crisis was the abdication of democratic principles through the imposition of an unelected Emergency Manager.”

It should be recalled that Snyder endorsed Biden for president in 2020. The “Poisoner-in-Chief” claimed that “President Trump … has demonstrated that he does not fully appreciate public policy matters, including public health…” 

The WSWS noted at the time that the Biden campaign and the Democratic Party welcomed the support of the widely-hated governor who oversaw, lied and covered up the water poisoning. It revealed how indifferent and hostile the Democrats are towards the 90,000 residents of Flint who overwhelmingly believe Snyder and his accomplices should be in jail. 

Snyder’s endorsement was part of a calculated and coordinated effort by the Biden campaign to win support from Republicans, which continues to this day as Biden praises Republicans as his “colleagues” while they run rough-shod over democratic rights and attempted to carry out a coup on January 6, 2021.