“At this time, we have not been made aware of what the charges are, or how they are related to his position with former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s administration,” Mr. Levine said. “Rich’s relationship with the Flint community has always been strong. When the Flint water crisis hit, he wasn’t assigned by Governor Snyder to go to Flint, but rather he raised his hand and volunteered.”
In 2016, Mr. Snyder offered an apology for what had happened, but for many residents in Flint, it did not go far enough.
“He pushed this whole thing to the side, and he pushed people to the side,” said Floyd Bell, a Flint resident whose two small grandchildren were poisoned by lead when they were babies and still struggle developmentally. “If he was truly aware of what was going on, he should be held accountable.”
Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a Flint pediatrician who warned officials about lead in the drinking supply, said that the prospect of new charges was a reminder that “accountability and justice are critical to health and recovery.”
“This news is a salve, but it isn’t the end of the story,” she said in an email. “Healing wounds and restoring trust will take decades and long-term resources.”
Melissa Mays, one of the first people in Flint to draw attention to the problems with the city’s water, said that given the silence from the attorney general’s office for more than 18 months, she was apprehensive that the charges would go far enough.
“We in Flint have been living in prison for the past almost 7 years and being forced to pay for water that’s still being piped through corroded and damaged infrastructure in the streets and in our homes while the people responsible have been walking free,” she wrote in an email. “We in Flint deserve REAL justice and that means wealthy, white politicians and agency heads going to jail for their actions and inaction that’s caused so much harm and loss to us.”