Share this with your friends
In a predictable but outrageous turn of events, the Georgia Grand Jury reviewing the botched raid earlier this year that left Bounkham “Bou Bou” Phonesavanh’s face and torso severely damaged and burned decided that the police were not responsible for his injuries.
For those not familiar with the case, the Habersham County SWAT team burst into a home this last May, looking for a man they believed had sold an informant about $40 worth of meth. When they couldn’t get through a door, the SWAT team threw a flash bang grenade through the door, which landed in 19-month-old Bou Bou’s crib before detonating. His family was restrained and not allowed to assist him after the explosion. According to reports, his face was badly burned, and his chest was blown open. He has had multiple surgeries and will need many more to full recover.
The officers who signed off on this raid did so without an actual investigation; they claim they didn’t know there were children in the home (where the suspect they were looking for was no longer living), despite running up a driveway with a minivan and past a yard full of toys. The lack of research and planning resulted in grievous harm to a child, and those who failed to properly plan this raid should be held criminally responsible for their terrible failure.
After a few days, the Grand Jury did not find any of the officers involved criminally liable and failed to bring charges against a single one. Given the utter failure to follow national standard best practices for SWAT engagements and previous massive mistakes made by this county’s law enforcement, it’s clear that justice will not come from an internal source. The grand jury readily admits in its report that the SWAT team failed to adequately verify information, but in the end, the “remorse and pain” of the officers involved and the “unknown” stressors of working in law enforcement apparently were enough to ensure not one of them will be punished for their actions. They found failures at every level of the department but were unwilling to hold anyone accountable.
Sure, the drug task force that raided the house was disbanded, but that is simply too little too late. It should have been disbanded two years ago after murdering a pastor and attempting to defame his character posthumously.
In addition to not holding anyone involved in this raid and its complete lack of appropriate planning criminally responsible, Habersham County has also stated it will not pay for Baby Bou Bou’s medical bills, which are currently in excess of $1,000,000.00 and will certainly increase as more surgeries and ongoing treatment will be needed. He will have to have surgeries every two years until he is 20.
This terrible incident makes it clear that no-knock warrants should be done away with and that SWAT teams should only be deployed in hostage situations, which is currently the case in only a tiny number of the SWAT raids that take place every day in the United States. Consider signing the petition demanding that the county take at least financial responsibility for injuring this child. If you’re able, please consider donating toward the family’s fund, which is being used to pay Bou Bou’s medical bills.
For previous articles about Baby Bou Bou, click here.