Members of a northeast Georgia SWAT team are being threatened after an incident that left a 19-month-old with serious burns. CNN updated the story May 30.
The tragedy occurred in Habersham County, and shows just how great a danger residents are when it comes to police.
Alecia Phonesavanh said her son was sleeping in his playpen Wednesday morning when the raid began. Alecia was aware there was meth being sold out of the home of her family. She had been staying with relatives since losing her Wisconsin residence in a fire.
Alecia stated she tried to keep her four children away from where drug activity was taking place.
Officers with the Habersham County Sheriff's Department, along with Cornelia police, showed up at the home at around 3 a.m. Police said they had the right to be there because an informant had purchased drugs at the residence earlier in the day.
The SWAT team got a "do not knock" warrant for the home because Wanis Phonesavanh had a prior weapons charge, and set about using a battering ram to force the door open.
The SWAT team officer's could tell something was blocking the locked door, and threw in a flash grenade as soon as they battered the door open enough to do so.
As it turned out, the Thonetheva family wasn't inside. The Phonesavanh family was.
Now a young child is fighting for his life after the flash grenade landed in the playpen where he was napping..As it turns out, the playpen was what blocked the door.
Bounkham “Bou Bou” Phonesavanh had to be driven the 75 miles to Grady Memorial Hospital because weather conditions were too bad for him to be flown. Bou Bou is now in a medically induced coma. Alecia told WSB News
"He didn't deserve any of this. He's in the burn unit. We go up to see him and his whole face is ripped open. He has a big cut on his chest."
Habersham County Sheriff Joey Terrell stands behind his officer's, saying they were looking for a possibly armed suspect and followed police procedure in busting their way into the home. Terrell says if they'd known a child was in the home, the grenade wouldn't have been used. Terrell stated
“There was no clothes, no toys, nothing to indicate that there was children present in the home. If there had been then we’d have done something different."
Chief Assistant District Attorney J. Edward Staples said Thonetheva could be charged in connection with the baby being injured. Thonetheva, along tieh three other people, were arrested at another Cornelia residence shortly after the raid and charged with distribution of methamphetamine.
The family is devastated. Thanks to the carelessness of police, a young boy's life is forever affected. Should he live through such horrific injuries, he'll likely be scarred for life.
What will happen when he's told someday that it was a police officer who critically injured him. No telling how that knowledge will influence his opinion of police.
Alecia says a medical fund has been set up to help cover her son's medical bills.
I've covered more than 80 dogs shot by police cases over the past two years. Perhaps it would also be best to keep children far far away from police, since they're not safe either.
Who should be held responsible, in your opinion. Your comments are welcome.