Bounkham “Bou Bou” Phonesavanh
No-knock raids such as this one in Iowa have become much more common over the years, with an estimated 80,000 occurring across the U.S. each year.
A grand jury in Georgia has decided not to indict any officers involved in a botched SWAT team drug raid that disfigured a 19-month-old baby boy in May.
The Habersham County grand jury announced Monday it found the local sheriff’s department’s drug investigation was “hurried, sloppy and unfortunately not in accordance with the practices and policies,” but then turned around and said there was “no evidence of criminal intent or criminal negligence on the part of any law enforcement officer involved.”
Bounkham “Bou Bou” Phonesavanh was permanently scarred when a SWAT team raided his parents’ home at 3 a.m. on May 28, lobbing a flash-bang grenade into the house before they entered. That grenade landed in the crib where little Bou Bou was sleeping. The device exploded, tearing open the boy’s face, severing his nose and severely burning his face and chest.
Little “Bou Bou” spent five weeks in the hospital and remains badly scarred despite having undergone multiple reconstructive surgeries, including the reattachment of his nose.
Habersham County has refused to pay the family’s medical expenses, which have exceeded $800,000, a friend of the family told WND in an email.
A Care2 online petition demanding the county step up and take responsibility for the medical bills has gathered more than 15,000 signatures, including more than 500 from Georgia residents.
An attorney for Habersham County officials said it would be illegal for the city to pay the bills. Alecia Phonesavanh, the boy’s mother, has said her son’s injuries will require surgeries throughout his life to heal the hole in his chest and injuries to his face.
To date, the family has raised a little more than $40,000 to cover the medical expenses, according to Yasmina Dardari, who is helping the family with the campaign.
WND was first to report in June that the sheriff’s office received its “intelligence” for the SWAT raid from a confidential criminal informant or CCI, which is the least reliable type of informant police can use.
According to the police incident report, deputies were told to anticipate a cache of weapons and armed guards at the home.
Officers conducted a no-knock raid. Once inside, they found no guns or drugs. The highly sought-after drug dealer, who didn’t even live at the house, was arrested without incident a couple of hours later at another residence. He was only charged with possession of methamphetamine.
The family has maintained from the beginning that they had no involvement in illegal drug activity. They had only been living in the house a few weeks when police conducted their late-night raid. Everyone was asleep at the time.
Written by LEO HOHMANN
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