Nick Lyon, the director of the state of Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services, is now facing charges of involuntary manslaughter and misconduct in office in connection with the Flint water crisis, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced Wednesday morning.

Eden Wells, the state’s Chief Medical Executive, was also charged with misconduct in office and obstruction of justice. Involuntary manslaughter, misconduct in office and obstruction of justice are all felonies. Several other high-ranking state officials, including Stephen Busch, the District Supervisor of the Department of Environmental Quality when the Flint water crisis began, and Darnell Earley, the former emergency manager of Flint, were also charged with involuntary manslaughter.

In total, 51 charges have been brought against 15 separate state officials in connection with the crisis, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The charges are related specifically to the 2014 outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease that resulted from the change in the city’s water source. The indictment states Lyon was aware of the outbreak, but chose not to alert the public. According to The New York Times, the outbreak of the disease was directly responsible for the death of 12 people, and illness in dozens of others. 

In a tweet Wednesday morning, Rep. Dan Kildee (D–Mich.) said he supported the charges, saying they offered residents some justice.

“Justice for #Flint comes in many forms, including holding state officials accountable who created the water crisis,” the tweet read.

Gov. Rick Snyder opposed the charges against Lyon and Wells, however, saying in a statement they still had his “full faith,” and would not be removed from their posts.

“Director Lyon and Dr. Eden Wells, like every other person who has been charged with a crime by Bill Schuette, are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,” he said in a statement. “Some state employees were charged over a year ago and have been suspended from work since that time. They still have not had their day in court. That is not justice for Flint nor for those who have been charged. Director Lyon and Dr. Wells have been and continue to be instrumental in Flint’s recovery.” 

In response to Snyder’s defense of the officials, Flint Rising, which consists of several of community organizations that formed in response to the crisis, called for the governor’s resignation.

According to a statement, Nayyirah Shariff, the director of Flint Rising, believes the charges were “too close for the Governor to not know of wrongdoing.” 

“The latest round of charges brought forth against top current and former officials in the Snyder Administration is troubling, infuriating, and a disgrace to the people of Flint and the State of Michigan,” Shariff said. “Many of the individuals charged today answered directly to Gov. Snyder. Enough is enough. Gov. Snyder needs to resign immediately and the people must know what he knew and when he knew it. Gov. Snyder must not be immune from accountability.” 

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