“God have mercy on our soul… Let these people speak! We are dying here…Don’t do this, man! Don’t do it!”
Now that the 2014-2015 Flint Drinking Water Crisis has a name and is getting national attention, we wanted everyone to get a glimpse of the surreal journey of Flint residents. The scene was a City Council meeting about 17 months into the water crisis. Understandably, Flint residents were upset, as they were paying the highest water rates in the U.S. (average $200 per month) for water that is now acknowledged to have been dangerous and non-potable.
The residents had just collected their own data, with the assistance of Virginia Tech researchers, that demonstrated Flint water was not meeting Federal safety standards for lead. At the meeting, Flint residents were not allowed to speak, and if they did so, they were arrested. The only mode of asking a question to the government was to write them on Post-In notes or submit them on paper, and residents were told that answers would be posted a week later on the City of Flint’s website. Moreover, questions from several Flint residents (like Melissa Mays and LeeAnne Walters) were never answered.
ABC news noted:
Many who attended Monday’s meeting had lots of concerns about the safety of their drinking water, but weren’t allowed to ask questions during the presentation. …”I’m dumbfounded. I don’t get it. I don’t have an opinion I guess,” Brisbane-Nobit said. She worries about the recent studies and her declining health “This is ridiculous. I have a pubis bone that’s breaking because one of the symptoms of lead is bone deterioration,” Brisbane-Nobit said.
Siddhartha Roy of Flintwaterstudy.org, was told that by Melissa Mays that this was a routine council meeting during the water crisis, and that Flint residents were “frequently arrested for questioning the safety of their water.”
Here is more proof from footage shot by The Flint Journal/mLive from March 2015 where Tony Palladeno Jr. was asked to leave and is heard discussing Ms. Walters’ initial lead results with then Mayor Walling: