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Georgia cops fight law inspired by toddler maimed in raid: You can have privacy or security

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A police union in Georgia is pushing back against legislation that would limit the use of no-knock raids, arguing that privacy rights don’t trump public safety.

Bou-Bou’s Law, named for a 19-month-old boy badly injured when a SWAT officer tossed a flash grenade into his crib during a no-knock raid last year in Habersham County, would prohibit such investigations between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. and place other limits on surprise raids.

The law would also instruct law enforcement agencies to develop written policies and training for executing no-knock warrants, ensure supervising officers are present, and require assurance that human lives or evidence are in imminent danger.

Bounkham “Bou Bou” Phonesavanh spent five weeks in a medically induced coma after his chest and face were torn apart May 28 by the flash grenade, and his family faces nearly $1 million in medical bills that county officials argue they are not legally authorized to pay.

“We are saying there should be restrictions on them and we think the situation in the recent past where they have been abused warrants that,” said state Sen. Vincent Fort, a Democrat who proposed the bill.

But Carrie Mills, a representative for the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, said officers already face too many restrictions in their investigations.

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“I don’t think any changes are needed because it is not easy now,” Mills said.

She said citizens must decide whether they want civil rights or safe communities.

“You have to draw the line between your right as a citizen to privacy and a community’s right to live in a crime-free environment,” Mills said. “You can’t have them both.”

Drug agent Nikki Autry secured the no-knock warrant to search for a family member who allegedly sold $50 of methamphetamine to a confidential informant and was arrested elsewhere after the raid without incident.

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Autry resigned days later from the Mountain Judicial Circuit’s drug unit and the chief magistrate who signed the warrant, County Judge James Butterworth, announced his retirement.

The drug task force that gathered evidence leading to the raid was disbanded last fall.

A grand jury declined to indict any of the officers involved in the raid.

Police said their investigation did not reveal the boy and his family were staying with relatives after their home was destroyed by fire.

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The toddler’s nose was detached from his face, and the blast ripped a hole in his chest and caused serious burns.

He will likely require regular surgeries until he is 20 years old, a family attorney said.

Police initially told the boy’s parents the blast knocked out one of his teeth but did not otherwise injure him.

Watch this video report posted online by WTOC-TV:

WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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Virginia Democrats are so fired up that the party chair had to scold them: ‘Sit down — be quiet’

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Democrats in Virginia are fired up as they gathered in Richmond for their annual gala dinner.

Political analysts believe the Democratic Party of Virginia has a good chance to win control of the state legislature in 2019's election, before setting their sights on the Commonwealth continuing its recent trend of voting Democratic in presidential elections.

Patrick Wilson, a political reporter for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, attended the event.

He reported that Democrats were so "noisy" that it was hard to hear the speakers, which include presidential candidates Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

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‘Everyone knows what to expect’ at Trump’s Amway Center re-election kickoff

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Donald Trump considers himself a legendary salesman, but can he really sell America on giving him four more drama-filled years at the White House?

Tuesday, he'll make his big pitch.

The 2020 reelection kickoff rally is being held in Orlando, Florida and campaign operations chief Michael Glassner says the "historic" event "has already generated tens of thousands of ticketing requests."

There's little mystery about how the night will go down.

Expect Trump, the self-promoting hero of his ghost-written book "The Art of the Deal," to claim the US economy is richer, the military stronger, and the country more respected than ever in history.

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Florida man’s own family blasts him after he was arrested for racist threats: ‘This isn’t how we were raised’

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After a Florida man was arrested for trying to start a race war, a member of his own family slammed his values.

"A Florida man’s social media posts that threatened violence against African-Americans, Jews and homosexuals and that urged his followers to start a race war netted him a $1 million bond," the Miami Herald reported Saturday. "And then there’s another $100,000 bond he would have to pay to get out of Lee County Jail because of a weapons charge."

Joshua Leff, 40, is being held in the Lee County Jail.

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