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Woman Leading Flint Lead Poisoning Lawsuit Found Shot Dead in Her Home

April 22, 2016
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Sasha Avonna Bell, a woman leading the drive to sue the Michigan government over the Flint lead poisoning water crisis, has been found shot and killed in her home, M Live reports. She had claimed that her child was poisoned by the water after it was switched from the Detroit water system to the Flint river, (which officials hadn't applied corrosion inhibitors to).

Another woman, Sacorya Renee Reed, was also found shot and killed in the home. Their bodies were discovered on April 19th.
"Sasha was a lovely young woman who cared deeply for her family, and especially for her young child," said her attorney Corey M. Stern. "Her tragic and senseless death has created a void in the lives of so many people that loved her. Hopefully, her child will be lifted up by the love and support from everyone who cared deeply for Sasha."
A 1-year-old was found unharmed in the home. Police haven't confirmed if it was Bell's child.

Those supporting Bell's landmark suit have vowed that it will continue. No charges have been filed in the shooting.
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[Image: 336BC1CE00000578-3554797-image-a-31_1461...1461444150] From the Daily Mail:
"A woman who was among the first to file a lawsuit in connection to the Flint, Michigan water crisis was identified as one of two victims of a fatal shooting that happened earlier this week.
She was identified Thursday, the same day the death of a Flint Water Treatment Plant foreman who was wanted for questioning in connection with the crisis was pronounced dead…."
Sasha Avonna Bell, 19, was suing 3 government officials and 6 companies for allegedly causing her toddler to suffer from lead poisoning.
From Mlive: "….Bell was found dead April 19 in the 2600 block of Ridgecrest Drive at the Ridgecrest Village Townhouses. Sacorya Renee Reed was also found shot to death in the home.
Cory M. Stern, Bells attorney, is/was handling Sasha's case and was one of 64 lawsuits filed on behalf of 144 children by Stern's firm, New York-based Levy Konigsberg, and Flint-based Robinson Carter & Crawford.
Also, "...On Thursday, it was revealed that a Flint Water Treatment Plant foreman was found dead on April 16 in his Otter Lake home.
The foreman, Matthew McFarland, was 43. He had been questioned by investigators looking into Flint's water crisis. The cause of his death is unknown..."
- See more at:…
The lawsuit named six companies that had various responsibilities with respect to the treatment, monitoring, and safety of the Flint water prior to and during the Flint water crisis, according to her attorneys. The case also named three individual government, or former government, employees who played significant roles in the alleged misconduct that led to the alleged poisoning of thousands of children in Flint, her attorneys claim.
From Mlive:
"….The Bell case, however, played an important role in determining the future of the more than five dozen other lawsuits that were filed.
Initially, Bell's case and the others were filed in Genesee Circuit Court. However, they were transferred to U.S. District Court on a motion from one of the defendants, engineering company Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam.

However, Ann Arbor U.S. District Judge John Corbett O'Meara ruled April 13 that Bell's case should return to the state court claiming it lacked jurisdiction to hear the case.

Stern said the case will continue and a representative will be appointed for Bell's child.

The ruling also forced the other 63 cases to be returned to state court.

Flint police say they have a person in custody in connection to the slayings of Bell and Reed. No charges have yet been filedOne of the companies named in the lawsuit was an engineering company from Texas (LAN) Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, Inc…."
From its Linkedin Description:
"...(LAN) is a full-service consulting firm offering planning, engineering and program management services. Founded in 1935, LAN has grown from its humble beginnings as a small Houston firm to a national leader in the heavy civil infrastructure engineering industry. A division of LEO A DALY, an international architecture/engineering firm, LAN has access to the expertise of nearly 800 professionals in 31 offices across the country..."
Unfortunately, we don't know the the names of the other companies named in the lawsuit or the Government officials where named in the lawsuit at this time.
Thats all the info there is at this time.
But I have a couple questions.
1. Who would DIRECTLY benefit from either one of the above named, deaths?
2. Who are the other Flint officials named in the lawsuit?
3. What are the names of the other 5 companies named in the lawsuit?
4. Does anybody with law experience know how, returning the lawsuit to the state jurisdiction will affect the lawsuit? Is it better or worse for the defendants named?
5. Is it time for the Feds or other investigators to get involved for the safety of the others who have ongoing lawsuits? How can it be determined if others may be in danger?
I'm not trying to be a conspiracy theorist, but I think word needs to get out about these deaths so others can start connecting who they may know, as our corporate-owned media only gives piece-meal information.
Sad. Obviously, those charged and about to be charged [which will include the Governor!] are not going to go 'down' without a fight. It shows the real level of racism/classism in America - which I believe this is about - not about environmental carelessness, which it was. It was a poisoning using lead and other metals not Xyklon-B. Anyone who challenges the hate and greed in America today is a likely target, and they play to win; which often means to kill. Expect this to grow - as well as the reaction to it. Americans that are non-white and/or less-than-upper-middle-class are now a threat in the minds of those who stole all of their jobs, money, homes, dignity, liberties, freedoms (or never allowed them to have them). This 'war' has its roots from the time of the killing of the Native Americans en masse - and the Civil War was one of the 'hot spots' in it...but it never ended just simmered. All of the police shootings of unarmed blacks is a part of it. The housing crisis was a part of it. Corporate 'globalization' is a part of it. The pay day loans scandal is a part of it. Flint is a part of it. NAFTA is a part of it. The privatization of everything is a part of it. The Bank scandals are a part of it. The false-flag operations from time to time to keep the pot boiling on the war on terror is a part of it. The longterm war on drugs is a part of it. Stop and frisk is a part of it. It is class warfare with race warfare thrown in too. America is really at the brink on all levels of governance - from towns to the Federal Government (where our racist and imperialistic wars are a part of it].
NERMEEN SHAIKH: We turn now to Michigan, where the first criminal charges have been filed in the ongoing Flint water contamination crisis that exposed nearly 100,000 residents to high levels of lead. Two state employees have been charged with misleading the U.S. government about the problem: Michigan Department of Environmental Quality employees Stephen Busch and Michael Prysby. Meanwhile, a Flint employee, Michael Glasgow, is charged with altering water test results. On Wednesday, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced the charges, saying there are more to come.
ATTORNEY GENERAL BILL SCHUETTE: These employees of the Department of Environmental Quality had a duty. They had a duty to protect the health of families and citizens of Flint. They failed. They failed to discharge their duties. They failed. They failed in their responsibilities to protect the health and safety of families of Flint. They failed Michigan families. ... Each and every person who breaks the law will be held accountable. We'll follow the facts without fear or favor, and we'll go wherever the truth takes usand in this case, wherever the emails take us. These charges are only the beginning, and there will be more to come. That, I can guarantee you.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: The charges come as Michigan's Republican Governor Rick Snyder said he has not been questioned by prosecutors in connection with the Flint water contamination crisis. At a news conference Wednesday, Snyder said he doesn't believe he broke any laws.
GOV. RICK SNYDER: We've been fully cooperating with this investigation, and we'll continue to do so. And we'll pursue any wrongdoing and hold people accountable. ... With respect to this investigation, I have not been questioned or been interviewed at this point in time. Our office has been cooperating.
AMY GOODMAN: Protesters have called for Michigan Governor Snyder to resign and face charges. The Flint water crisis began when Flint's unelected emergency manager, appointed by Governor Snyder, switched the source of Flint's drinking water from the Detroit system, which it had relied on for more than half a century, to the corrosive Flint River. The water corroded Flint's aging pipes, causing poisonous levels of lead to leach into the drinking water, among other poisons.
Well, for more, we're joined now by Curt Guyette, investigative reporter for the ACLU of Michigan, who helped bring this crisis to light. His work focuses on emergency management and open government. He just won the 2016 Hillman Prize for Web Journalism, as well as the Aronson Award for Outstanding Pioneering Reporting.
Curt Guyette, it's great to have you back on Democracy Now! and to have spent time with you in Flint. Talk about the significance of the charges against these three men who work for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
CURT GUYETTE: Well, there's a lot of significance in a lot of different ways. But certainly, what they established in these charges was the misconduct and, really, the willful disregard for the well-being of the people of Flint in multiple different ways. From the beginning, the plant wasn't ready to begin operation, yet state officials forced the city to rush into treating the river water rather than staying on the Detroit water. The fact that they didn't require corrosion control, which was a major fact in this, that they didn't use corrosion control caused the lead to leach into the water. And then, after they started to see that their mistakes were resulting in high lead levels, they attempted to cover that up, either by altering evidence, tampering evidence, as the charges say, the way they were conducting the tests, multiple ways they were trying to minimize the amount of lead being found in these tests to cover up the fact that they made a tragic mistake in switching to the river in the first place and not using corrosion control, as the law requires.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, Curt Guyette, I want to go to a clip that appears of you in the documentary Here's to Flint. Curt Guyette questioned Flint's former water quality supervisor, Mike Glasgow, about the city's lead testing.
CURT GUYETTE: How are you able to determine that every one of those homes had a lead service line?
MICHAEL GLASGOW: You know, so we tried to go through our records and see
CURT GUYETTE: Why was I not provided with those records when I filed a Freedom of Information Act request?
MICHAEL GLASGOW: That's athat's a good question. I don't have an answer for you right now, to be honest with you. Sometimes records get lost. So, we just know
CURT GUYETTE: Right. So you don't necessarily have all the records?
MICHAEL GLASGOW: That could be a possibility. I can't [inaudible] now.
CURT GUYETTE: So, how were youagain, how were you able to determine that every single house had a lead service line?
MICHAEL GLASGOW: We're not, really. We throw bottles out everywhere just to collect as many as we can to try to hit our number. Yeah, we're still looking for the records.
CURT GUYETTE: Even though it's after the fact. The reports have already been submitted.
MICHAEL GLASGOW: Oh, yeah, the reports have been submitted.
CURT GUYETTE: And the complianceand the compliance was based on those reports.
MICHAEL GLASGOW: That's how they base their compliance, yes.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: That was Curt Guyette in the ACLU documentary Here's to Flint. So, Curt Guyette, Michael Glasgow was one of the people charged. Could you respond to what the charge was and whether you think it was adequate?
CURT GUYETTE: Glasgow was in charge of the city's water treatment plant at the time. He was also overseeing the testing. And what's being called into question, in part, is the way the tests were conducted. And so, yeah, I think it is appropriate. I mean, he was on the front lines. And a lot of people I talked to in Flint think that Mr. Glasgow is a good guy, that he was being helpful in doing the tests, and have some good feelings toward him. He's alsohe spoke out, in an email, when they were ready to bring the plant online. He said, "We're not ready to do that." And so, there was a little surprise, I think, that he was charged, because, in some ways, he did try to do the right thing.
But the bigger picture is that the actions of all three people who have been charged so far resulted in the contamination of a town's water supply and the lead poisoning of people, especially children. And so, the fact that they're bringing criminal charges seems entirely appropriate. And I think what's also important to point out is that when these charges were announced, the attorney general, the state attorney general, said this was just the beginning, which is the way these investigations typically go. You start at the bottom, bring charges against people, use that as a wedge and pressure them to give up more information, and then you work your way up the ladder, which is what the attorney general indicated is going to happen in this case.
AMY GOODMAN: So, Curt Guyette, let's talk about that ladder. Governor Snyder says he hasn't been questioned by prosecutors. What is the governor's role here? Do you think he'll be charged? Do you think he should be charged? And what should he be charged with, if so?
CURT GUYETTE: You know, Amy, I just can't answer that. I think the investigation has to run its course. And it's going to uncover more information as it goes along. Right now there's not any evidence indicating that the governor was directly involved in this, but not all the evidence has come out yet. And as this goes along, as people get charged and there's deals worked out with whatever information that they give up, and then they keep moving up the ladder. I thought it was a little surprising that the governor hasn't been questioned to this point, but maybe that's part of the investigation: They're waiting 'til they have everything in hand before they go and start asking the governor questions about this.
AMY GOODMAN: Curt Guyette, this is suchthis is such an astounding story. I mean, you have April 2014Flint is cut off from its traditional supply of half a century, the Detroit water system, which was fine, to save a couple million dollars, and linked to the corrosive Flint River. Then, within months, the GM plant in Flint said they couldn't work with the water, because it was corroding the engines that they were producing. And the unelected emergency manager, chosen by the governor, gave them a waiver to link back to the Detroit system, as the people were protesting and increasingly getting sicker. Isn't this an indication that the governor's man in Flint knew exactly what was happening?
CURT GUYETTE: Oh, definitely, people should have known what was happening when that occurred, just the general aesthetics of the water, the bacterial contamination, and then the contamination of the water with a carcinogenic byproduct of chlorine. You know, it was justthey didn't know what they were doing, and they were bumbling from step to step to step. But then they were also trying to cover up their problems. But certainly, last July, when we published theMiguel Del Toral's EPA internal memo, sounding the alarm, everybody knew at that point, or should have known at that point.
Here's one thing I think is also interesting in this, which is, one year ago, almost exactly one year ago, on the one-year anniversary of the changeover, there was a protest in Flint, maybe a hundred people marching through the streets, little kids with bullhorns saying, "Stop poisoning the children." And no one was paying any attention at all. And in this past year, it's gone from that situation to everybody knows about Flint. The problem with lead in water has become part of a national conversation. And it's because those people who were protesting were relentless in trying to get to the truth. And that gets overlooked a lot in this, how citizen-driven exposure of this crisis has been, and where it's led because of those efforts.
AMY GOODMAN: Curt Guyette, you wereyou are an investigative reporter who's won a number of awards. You were challenging these officials. Emails were released that showed that the governor was being warned by his own staff that this is an absolute crisis. What do you think is the most damning of those emails that indicate the chain of command and what Governor Snyder knew?
CURT GUYETTE: You know, what I have seen so far hasit's come very close to the governor, in terms of his inner circle being warned that there was a problem. But as you say, when GM got a waiver to switch back to the Detroit system while the people of Flint were forced to continue drinking poisonous water, so there was failure all the way along the line. But again, anything directly implicating the governor, I haven't seen anything yet that shows that. There was a kind of firewall. And what took place, if it took place at all, was conversations. There wasn't emails, that I've seen yet, directly linking the governor into this.
But here's another thing. Of the emails that were released, one of them had to do with state police bicycle patrols in Flint. And the governor was directly communicating with people about these bicycle patrols and how they were being received by the public. So he was, you know, very much hands-on with something as relatively minor as that, but yet he was supposedly completely out of the loop with all this Flint water crisis? It's really kind of hard to believe.
Magda Hassan Wrote:4. Does anybody with law experience know how, returning the lawsuit to the state jurisdiction will affect the lawsuit? Is it better or worse for the defendants named?
5. Is it time for the Feds or other investigators to get involved for the safety of the others who have ongoing lawsuits? How can it be determined if others may be in danger?

I don't know anything specific about Michigan. However, as a general rule, state courts are better than Federal courts for the plaintiff, if only because the Federal appellate courts are traditionally so unfriendly to plaintiffs. I would suspect that in Michigan right now your average jury would resemble a lynch mob (complete with torches and pitchforks) to a named defendant in the Flint water matter, which I am also supposing was the motive for the defendant's unsuccessful attempt to move it to Federal court.

I would guess that the Feds might offer their assistance to Flint PD, since this is a high profile matter. However, without some sort of federal question, the Fibbies will usually defer. However, I could easily see a federal question arising if the deaths are truly connected, like RICO (organized crime) or a conspiracy that crosses state lines, for instance. Knocking off a plaintiff (after they file) would be unlikely to significantly affect the civil lawsuit, because then the plaintiff's estate is still in the lawsuit (adding more lawyers to the process); or, in this case, the baby (assuming the found baby was the same baby whose interest the named plaintiff was representing) will be represented by an additional attorney or guardian. But Michigan may have different rules. Heck, they outlawed unions there or something...

A truly tragic and heartbreaking turn of events.
Local Police have arrested, but not yet convicted, a poor Black man for the murder of Bell and her friend. I find this hard to believe he is the killer - or if he was, was not put up to it for others who stood to benefit from the murder...he did not. Perhaps he is innocent and just arrested to make the Police look like they are doing something. All levels of Michigan authorities are guilty, as are private/banking/corporate interests. Few know it but they privatized Flint, in effect, and had an unelected single person rule by fiat over was this man who without any reason other than 'saving money' switched the good water system to the Flint River [well known to be highly polluted by acids and metals et al.]...he has not be arrested, nor the Governor who appointed him. I think now they will eventually be..but I don't see this stopping the trend of privatizing everything in the USA - and in fact the Planet. Not yet...not unless enough People catch on to what is going on by connecting 'the dots'.
If you've ever seen Michael Moore's first film ROGER & ME, you know that Flint has been getting used and abused by corporations for decades.