The man-made catastrophe that has occurred in Flint, Michigan will affect the citizens of the city for years to come. The poisonous water can cause children and the elderly to suffer in health; home values have decreased; and business owners are losing money.
Judge Greg Mathis and attorney Willie Gary held a town hall meeting at the Quinn Chapel AME in Flint to share information on how citizens can move forward with potential lawsuits.
During the town hall, Michigan attorneys Clarence Tucker, Tanya Wallace, Lorenzo Williams, and Daniel Reid were in attendance to give legal advice.
We spoke with Judge Mathis following the event.
First, I want to ask you what is the importance of today and why was it important for you to come visit the people of Flint?
One of the things I wanted to do was come from a legal perspective. We brought water, but also wanted to bring some of the best lawyers in the country here to answer some of the questions about the alternatives that people have to seek justice here. So that’s why we are here today. We’re going to follow up, we have a hotline where people can continue to ask their legal questions as well as resources that they can access in the community in general.
From a legal standpoint, what was your initial reaction when you first heard about the story?
Some of the things I’ve read, it appeared that there was some criminal negligence here. Certain folks had knowledge that the water was poisoned and did not act on that knowledge and in fact denied that was the case. That is a gross negligence, which in many cases, can be criminal. But we certainly have gross negligence whether when it comes to the government. yI tell people quite often we prepare against terrorists attacks everyday. The homeland security wondering about our water being poisoned by terrorists, the security of defense wonders about our water being poisoned by terrorists. Well in this case, it is being poisoned by our own government so we need to react like we would if terrorists attacked our people. That is essentially likened to what is happening here so we need every agency of government to respond like they would a terrorists organization poisoning the water of an entire city.
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