Activist Puts Detroit Water Department On Blast For Shutting Off 12,000 Residents’ Water System

July 9, 2014  |  


From BlackVoices
A Detroit activist and a TV reporter got into a shouting match on MSNBC Tuesday as they discussed how thousands of the city’s residents have been left with no water.In March, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department announced plans to stop water service for customers who were behind on their bills; since then, it has shut off water for more than 12,000 people, according to The New York Times. The United Nations weighed in, with a trio of experts saying shutting off water to those who can’t afford it “constitutes a violation of the human right to water.”

Hank Winchester, a reporter for Detroit’s local NBC affiliate WDIV-TV, appeared on “MSNBC Live” Tuesday morning to discuss the water shutoffs with anchor Craig Melvin. He noted that the department would work with people who could not afford their bills and then claimed, “There are other people, and this is where it gets controversial, who simply don’t want to pay the water bill, who would rather spend money on cable. … A lot of these people are not willing to work out a deal [with the water department].” Maureen Taylor, state chair of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, responded with frustration.
“Let me say shame on Hank, shame on him for putting that lie and that mess and that disinformation out on the air. To suggest that people don’t want to pay for a water bill is scandalous,” Taylor said. “What is at stake here is that there are tens of thousands of low-income families who cannot pay rising water bill costs… and we’ve got these reporters out here like this guy that’s standing on the side of people who have money.”
Watch above to see Taylor continue to press Winchester during the MSNBC segment, which ended with her parting shot: “The next time you invite me to be here, let’s have some truth and a fair exchange as opposed to Hank who doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about.”

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