Officials who led the former investigation of the Flint water emergency are defending their actions, after Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel threw out their investigation, and dismissed pending charges against remaining defendants.
Andrew Arena, former director of the FBI Detroit office, says Nessel trashed his reputation. Arena helped lead the previous investigation, under former A-G Bill Schuette.
Arena tells WJR they were on the verge of issuing new charges when A-G Nessel took over.
Arena disputes Nessel’s contention that millions of documents were not examined. He was on the Frank Beckmann show.
Nessel tells Paul W Smith that her team will examine those records.
Arena says former Gov. Snyder was never off the table for possible charges.
Prosecutors said that they had grave concerns about the investigative approach and legal theories embraced by the former Office of Special Counsel (OSC) that oversaw the investigation, according to a press release issued by the Michigan Department of Attorney General. The OSC was appointed by former Attorney General Bill Schuette. The OSC entered into agreements that gave private law firms that were representing the accused a role in deciding what information would be turned over to law enforcement, according to the release. “We cannot provide the citizens of Flint the investigation they rightly deserve by continuing to build on a flawed foundation,” said Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy, who are now leading the criminal cases. Prosecutors noted in the press release that “the voluntary dismissal is not a determination of any defendant’s criminal responsibility.” Prosecutors are not precluded from refiling charges against the defendants in the future. A community conversation in Flint has been scheduled for June 28, where Hammoud and Worthy will speak directly to the people of Flint. Residents feel blindsided Melissa Mays, 40, a Flint resident and founder of local advocacy group Water You Fighting For, said that she first learned of the dismissal through a call from a New York Times reporter. “I was horrified. I felt blindsided,” she said, “the way we saw the message delivered today is hurtful. It was retraumatizing.” Mays said that her family is currently saving up for a water filtration system. “We have constant fear that this will never be fixed. It’s not fair. We didn’t ask to be poisoned,” she said. Karen Weaver, Mayor of the City of Flint, said the dismissal gave her hope for restoring justice. “I am happy to see that this case is being handled with the seriousness and dogged determination that it should have been handled with from the beginning,” Weaver said . Weaver called the mishandling of legal evidence of the former prosecution team “an entire administration’s clear lack of respect for human life and common decency, another attempt to cover up what should have never happened to begin with.” But many residents are frustrated. Monica Galloway, a member of the Flint City Council, said that she was “appalled.” “The lead impact on our children hasn’t even been realized, which means that there’s many unknowns for their future. They haven’t been made whole,” Galloway said. “It causes me to believe that Gov. Snyder just got a get out of jail free card. The people that are responsible will be walking away free,” she said. Still having to buy bottled water, longtime Flint resident Fortina Harris, 67, said that he feels like there’s nothing he can do.