COUNTY OFFICIALS REFUSE TO PAY MEDICAL BILLS FOR TODDLER BURNED BY SWAT GRENADE
Officials in Georgia’s Habersham County are refusing to pay for the mounting medical expenses of a toddler seriously injured by a flash grenade after a failed SWAT team raid earlier this year.
Bounkham ‘Bou Bou’ Phonesavanh was just 19 months old when a Habersham SWAT team initiated a no-knock warrant at his family’s home at around 3 a.m. on May 28. Bou Bou was asleep in his crib at the time, surrounded by his family and three sisters. The toddler was severely injured when SWAT team officers broke through the house’s door and threw a flashbang grenade that ultimately landed in the Bou Bou’s crib.
When the stun grenade went off, it caused severe burns on the child and opened a gash in his chest. As a result, Bou Bou lost the ability to breathe on his own and was left in a medically induced coma for days after the incident. His extensive recovery necessitated stays in two hospitals before he finally went home in July.
Now, Habersham County officials are sticking by their decision to ignore the family’s plight, the family’s attorney, Muwali Davis, told WSB-TV.
Habersham County’s attorney responded with a statement saying that the Board of County Commissioners will not pay given it is supposedly illegal to do so.
“The question before the board was whether it is legally permitted to pay these expenses. After consideration of this question following advice of counsel, the board of commissioners has concluded that it would be in violation of the law for it to do so.”
The family now says an independent investigation showed law enforcement used suspect information to attain a search warrant.
As RT reported previously, the SWAT conducted the raid as part of an effort to apprehend Wanis Thometheva, believed to be selling methamphetamine. Police said that their records indicated the suspect could be armed, and that a confidential informant had successfully purchased drugs from him earlier in the day. At the time of the raid, however, Thometheva was not at the home, and was eventually arrested elsewhere.
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