Given the events of the past year, it’s almost hard to recall that not long ago, Jackson, Mississippi, wasn’t the city that immediately and most prominently conjured images of what it meant to live at the intersection of failing infrastructure, systemic racism and awful leadership by public officials.
Back in 2014, that distinction still belonged to Flint, Michigan, the city that, in hindsight, made the clearest argument for some of the policies of the current White House, from a focus on rooting out racism that’s baked into public policy to the push to pass a $1 trillion overhaul of the decrepit underpinnings of many parts of America. But back then, the decisions of local Flint and Michigan state officials to switch the city’s water source proved an old adage: The cheap turns out expensive. What was supposed to be a cost-saving move came with a price tag of human suffering, counted out in at least a dozen lives lost and harm to the brain development of untold numbers of children.
Today, with Flint long out of the headlines, prosecutors are still trying to bring some of the officials they believe were criminally culpable for the tragedy to justice, and they’ve decided they’ll go all the way to Michigan’s state Supreme Court after their latest legal setback. Former Michigan health director Nick Lyon had been charged with nine counts of involuntary manslaughter and one count of willful neglect of duty by a public official in connection with the Flint water crisis, but those charges were dismissed in October by a judge, who ironically had the case kicked back to them after the state Supreme Court made a technical ruling about his indictment, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Despite that, prosecutors still believe there’s a chance that going back to the Supreme Court one more time might get the charges to stick.