No charges for Georgia officers who maimed toddler during no-knock drug raid
A grand jury in Georgia declined to indict the law enforcement officers involved in a botched drug raid that left a toddler disfigured and badly injured.
A SWAT officer tossed a flash grenade May 28 into a playpen where 19-month-old Bounkham “Bou Bou” Phonesavanh was sleeping during a no-knock raid overseen by the Habersham County Special Response Team.
The toddler’s nose was detached from his face, and the blast ripped a hole in his chest and caused serious burns.
Deputies had been warned to expect weapons and armed guards at the home, where they believed drugs would be found, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
A confidential informant told authorities he bought $50 in methamphetamine from a 20-year-old relative who he believed was staying at the house.
Officers found no drugs or weapons during their search, but the maimed boy’s cousin was arrested later that day without incident and charged with possession of meth.
A 23-member grand jury panel heard six days of testimony before deciding not to charge any of the officers involved in the raid.
An attorney for the family said the toddler had surgery about a month ago that required 60 stitches to his face and 70 to his chest.
The boy will likely need similar surgeries every two years until he is 20 years old to repair badly damaged nerve endings in his face and additional plastic surgery throughout his life, the attorney said.
The county has said it would not pay for the child’s medical bills, arguing that the board of commissioners was not legally permitted to pay for them.
Watch this video report posted online by WGCL-TV:
[Correction: The raid was overseen by the Habersham County Special Response Team, not the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.]