The Slatest

Flint Special Counsel: Officials Face Possible Manslaughter Charges for Water Contamination

Flint resident Jessica Owens holds a baby bottle full of contaminated water.

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The investigation into the contamination of the drinking water in Flint, Michigan could result in criminal charges for those responsible, including potential involuntary manslaughter charges that are punishable by up to 15 years in prison. That’s according to the state’s Attorney General-appointed special counsel, Todd Flood, who addressed the media on Tuesday alongside state investigators, who are still trying to untangle who knew what and when, in an effort to get to the bottom of the water crisis in the city. There are also civil actions that could be undertaken, Flood said.


Here’s more on potential next steps from Flood via the Detroit News:

“It’s not far-fetched” to imagine involuntary manslaughter charges in the case, Flood told reporters, if the investigation links “gross negligence” or a “breach of duty” to a death in Flint, where at least nine people have died of Legionnaires’ disease after the city switched to Flint River water in April 2014. Flood could also pursue restitution for Flint residents affected by the water contamination crisis, he said, suggesting he could target private companies or governments involved in the man-made disaster.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette appointed Flood as special counsel because Schuette’s office is representing the state in any potential criminal and civil proceedings. Schuette said it is still unclear how much the investigation will cost and how long it will take.