A jury acquitted a former Georgia deputy of all charges in the 2014 maiming of a sleeping baby during a no-knock drug raid.
Jurors deliberated for four and a half hours Friday before delivering not-guilty verdicts on all three counts of violating the civil rights of Bounkham “Bou Bou” Phonesavanh, his parents and siblings, reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Former Habersham County sheriff’s deputy Nikki Autry was the only law enforcement officer charged in the botched raid — which left Bounkham “Bou Bou” Phonesavanh with severe injuries and saddled his family with close to $1 million in medical bills.
The 29-year-old Autry was forced to resign after a county grand jury found her work in the raid was “hurried and sloppy,” and U.S. attorneys accused the former deputy of providing false information to a judge to obtain a no-knock warrant for a relative suspected of selling methamphetamine.
Deputies burst into another relatives home, where the 19-month-old boy and his family were staying temporarily, and tossed a stun grenade into a darkened room — and the explosive device landed in the toddler’s crib.
The boy suffered severe chest and facial injuries that will likely require multiple surgeries to repair.
The 29-year-old Autry was jubilant after her acquittal.
“I’m just happy everyone sees the truth,” said Autry, who is a stay-at-home mother.
But Bou Bou’s family was furious after the verdict was read.
“I thought America was built with the truth, and not a bunch of corruption and lying like this. I almost lost my life, my family, my son,” said his father, Bounkham Phonesavanh.
The boy’s mother said she believes race played a factor in the drug investigation, raid and subsequent prosecution.
“I was the only person untouched in that house when they raided it. Why? Because I’m white,” said Alecia Phonesavanh. “Why did we get a not guilty verdict? Because (Autry) is white.”
The family has filed lawsuits against other counties involved in the investigation and raid, and Habersham County awarded them $964,000 in a settlement last year.
Prosecutors said no other officers, including the deputy who threw the flash-bang grenade, would be charged in the case.
Watch this video report posted online by WAGA-TV: