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Toddler “Bou Bou” Phonesavanh Severely Burned When Georgia SWAT Police Throw Stun Grenade Into Crib

(WSB-TV)

(WSB-TV)

A 19-month-old toddler is fighting for his life after being critically injured when Georgia police tossed a stun grenade into his crib during a botched drug raid.

Police from multiple jurisdictions were looking for a man who sold methamphetamine to an undercover officer on Tuesday evening when they raided a Habersham County home in the early morning hours on Wednesday, WSB-TV reports.

Alecia Phonesavanh was visiting her sister-in-law at the home with her husband and four children, including 19-month-old son Bounkham “Bou Bou” Phonesavanh, after the family’s Wisconsin home recently burned down. They were asleep when the police SWAT team burst into the home on a no-knock warrant in search of the alleged drug suspect, Wanis Thometheva.

As they entered, police tossed a stun grenade into the home to distract the occupants. It landed in the playpen where Bounkham was sleeping.

“[It] exploded on his pillow right in his face,” Alecia told WSB-TV.

“It blew open his face and his chest,” she told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Everybody was asleep. It’s not like anyone was trying to fight.”

Boukham suffered severe burns and was rushed to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, where he was placed in a medically induced coma. His parents told reporters he has a 50/50 chance of surviving.

“He’s in the burn unit,” Alecia told WSB-TV. “We go up to see him and his whole face is ripped open. He has a big cut on his chest.”

“It’s my baby. He’s only a baby,” the distraught mother added. “He didn’t deserve any of this.”

“We have nothing to do with this (drugs),” father Bounkham “Bou” Phonesavanh told the Journal-Constitution.

Cornelia Police Chief Rick Darby said officers had purchased drugs at the address where the incident occurred and that a multi-jurisdictional drug unit issued a warrant and dispatched a SWAT team to the home at around 3 a.m. Darby added that officers did not know there were children in the home.

“There was no clothes, no toys, nothing to indicate that there was children present in the home,” Darby told WSB-TV. “If there had been then we’d have done something different.”

Alecia contested Darby’s assertion.

“They say there were no toys, [but] there is plenty of stuff,” she told the Journal-Constitution. “Their shoes were laying all over.”

Habersham County Sheriff Joey Terrell defended the SWAT team’s actions, calling Bounkham’s injury “a terrible accident.”

“The last thing you want is law enforcement to injure someone innocent,” Terrell told the Journal-Constitution. “There was no malicious act performed. It was a terrible accident that was never supposed to happen.”

Thometheva was not at the home where the raid occurred. The suspect, who has a previous drug arrest history, was later arrested at another home and faces a felony drug charge for distributing methamphetamine.

The Phonesavanhs do not have health insurance. A family friend set up this fundraising page to help cover the injured toddler’s medical bills.

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4 Comments

  1. asdfJune 1, 2014 at 12:26 pmReply

    if you support obama, then you also support
    1. the abolition of the 4th amendment
    2. the militarization of local police
    3. warrantless and unjustified military-style assault raids

    • Brett WilkinsJune 1, 2014 at 12:49 pmReplyAuthor

      … and many other constitutional violations as well, although “abolition” is a major exaggeration.

  2. wildJune 3, 2014 at 9:19 pmReply

    This not just an Obama thing…

    The same can be said for GW Bush, Clinton, the first Bush, Ford, Nixon, Reagan…etc. Or haven’t you all even heard of ‘the war on drugs’ yet?…it has only been in effect for 50 years!

    The reason the local & state police have all this exotic equipment, & training is primarily from Federal Money which doesn’t come from the Executive branch. It is mandated (made legal) and supported (money thrown at it) by The Federal Legislative branch (that is your representatives & senators). If ya don’t believe me, just ask your local mayor or city council person, ask them where the money comes from for the police, they will say Federal money bought more than 50% of them new cars, those radios, those helicopter rides, bla, bla, bla AR15’s, night scopes, surveillance bla, bla, bla…you really didn’t think your local city council ponied up the money for that kind of equipment & training to use it… did you?

    And by the way, it was your local and state governments that sought that Federal money, but it isn’t strictly ‘free money’ there is a hook (responsibility) that comes with the Federal money…and frankly, most local & state government actively seek it…just ask any of them. That is why your local/state police looks and acts like a bunch of hyped up zombies from a video game, they are PAID & trained to be that way.

    Has been like this for a long time, and babies and others get hurt in the process, just ask anyone from Iraq or Afghanistan.

    wild;)

  3. Pogue MahoneJune 15, 2014 at 6:52 amReply

    Fucking stupid pigs. Hope the kid’s family ends up owning that town.

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