Police in Flint Michigan have been preying on people’s hopes for clean water, by showing up with filters, then arresting people who have outstanding warrants.
The Genesee County Health Department declared a public health emergency for the City of Flint. They told residents that they should immediately stop drinking the city’s tap water due to the high levels of lead that had been coloring the water a muddy orange.
It was another two months before the mayor of Flint declared a state of emergency. The mayor explained that all of this was due to the city’s pipes leaching lead, and the water was unsafe to drink for the foreseeable future.
Since then, the National Guard began distributing of bottled water to Flint residents. The state had received the bottled water a full year earlier, but they didn’t start handing them out until this January.
Police saw an opportunity in this crisis: they could join in the door-to-door deliveries, but they could also use it as a pretext to get people to identify themselves, who otherwise might be hesitant to talk to the police. Specifically, police were interested in getting people with outstanding warrants to identify themselves.
Here’s how it works: the police officer shows up with bottled water or filters. They tell the resident that they are there to give the bottles and/or filter to them… “but first, we have to cross you off of our list. What’s your full name?”
After the resident has positively identified themselves, the police cuff and arrest them.
In a recent interview with Democracy Now!, former inmate Jody Cramer said that many inmates landed behind bars after being tricked by deputies.
The deputies came to their homes claiming to be passing out water filtration systems. But when people opened the door, and their names were confirmed, the deputies served warrants to the people on the spot.
“Here’s your water filtration system. By the way, you have a warrant for your arrest,” Cramer said.
Does it seem right to you that Flint police officers and Sheriff’s deputies are preying on people’s hopes for clean water, using this crisis as an opportunity to lock people up?
(Article by M. David; image by #Op309 Media)