Family Of SWAT Grenade Injured Baby Forced To Pay Million Dollar Medical Bills


Alecia and Bounkham Phonesavanh never owed anyone a dime before May 28th 2014. Now, because of a Georgia SWAT team, they are taking care of a severely injured son and are crippled with debt.
In the spring of 2014, a fire destroyed the Phonesavanh’s home in Janesville, Wisconsin. Without a home, and with four young children, they went to stay with Bounkham’s sister in Cornelia, Georgia. The parents, along with their children, all slept in one room. After two months the family found a new house in Wisconsin, and they were planning to return home. They had no idea that their lives were about to be changed forever.
Around 2 a.m on May 28th, the family was awakened by a loud explosion in their bedroom. The Special Response Team from the Habersham County Sheriff’s Office burst into the bedroom. According to police reports, Habersham Deputy Charles Long threw a “flash-bang” grenade into the room. It landed in 18-month-old Bounkham Jr’s pack-and-play.
Bounkham Jr, known as Bou Bou, started screaming, and Alecia immediately went to grab him. But Alecia says Deputy Jason Stribling picked up the child before she could reach him.

“I kept telling him, ‘Just give me my son. He’s scared. He needs me. The officer wouldn’t. And then he walked out of the room with [Bou Bou] and I didn’t see him again.”
They didn’t realize at that time that the blast from the flash-bang grenade severely injured the baby. Bou Bou’s face and torso were severely burned, and his lung had collapsed.
The child was taken in an ambulance before either parent had a chance to see him.

“I asked if he got hurt. And they said, ‘No, your son is fine. He has not sustained any serious injury,” Alecia Phonesavanh remembers. “They ended up telling us that he had lost a tooth.”
But the father knew that was a lie. He saw a pool of blood, burn marks on the crib and Bou Bou’s pillow blown apart.
At Grady Memorial Hospital, doctors placed the baby in a medically induced coma. “His chest wall had torn down to muscle,” says Dr. Walter Ingram, head of Grady’s burn trauma unit. “And it tore his face down to bone, down to his teeth.”
The parents couldn’t understand why the police were not just truthful with them in the first place.
The whole incident happened because a drug task force was looking for Bounkham Phonesavanh’s nephew, who police suspected was selling methamphetamine. A “no knock” police warrant allowed the team to enter the house unannounced. A grand jury was convened to look into the botched police raid, and after six days, they found “the drug investigation that led to these events was hurried, sloppy.”
Although, they did not recommend criminal charges against any of the officers involved.

Since the incident, the toddler has undergone surgeries to repair his face and torso. The Phonesavanh family says they are facing around $1 million in debt from hospital costs. Habersham County officials will not pay the medical bills because of a”gratuity” law in Georgia that prohibits them from compensating the family. The Phonesavanh family still has the option to file a civil lawsuit, and a federal investigation is now underway by the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia. A lawyer for the family said, “Now that the state grand jury has declined to return an indictment, we are reviewing the matter and conducting our own investigation.”

5 Comments on "Family Of SWAT Grenade Injured Baby Forced To Pay Million Dollar Medical Bills"

  1. anarchyst | 12/26/2014 at 7:10 AM |

    …stories like this are a prime reason for the present backlash against “law enforcement”…police that do their jobs right need not fear honest citizens…that being said…
    “Blow back” has arrived with extremely unconscionable and tragic results…
    No humans in their right mind want to see anyone lose their life at the hands of criminals of any sort, especially “law enforcement officers”–those who are charged with “keeping the peace”.
    It seems that in today’s supercharged climate of “officer safety”, innocent civilian lives have been extinguished, with tragic results.
    Part of the “problem” has to do with the elevation of “officer safety”, trumping “citizen safety”. It seems that honest citizens have been relegated to second-class “status”, being expendable whenever a “law enforcement” officer’s “safety” is threatened.
    The hypocrisy is so blatant, that even with incontrovertible video and audio evidence, police-friendly prosecutors, along with “rubber stamp” grand juries STILL absolve rogue cops of wrongdoing. The public is not stupid, seeing through the double-standard that presently exists. This, in no certain terms, does not absolve anyone of perpetrating unnecessary violence against “law enforcement”…
    The sad part of this whole situation is that when the SHTF, good cops will suffer, as those with “axes to grind” will see only the uniform and will be unable (or even unwilling) to differentiate between the “good” and the “bad”…collateral damage at its worst…
    Changes in the whole system are sorely needed…non-violent, of course…

  2. jenkem5 | 12/21/2014 at 4:57 PM |

    Yeah, throwing a grenade in a child’s crib. No culpability there. You are a moron. The county is screwed, they will settle no doubt.

  3. Donald Culver | 12/20/2014 at 7:34 AM |

    A sad tragedy, but speaking as someone with first hand knowledge of the execution of search warrants I have to say the fundamental blame lies with the people that the child and parents were staying with, as the search warrant was issued for actions taken by those who actually lived there. They were drug dealers. I am saddened about the child, but put the blame where it really belongs. No drug dealer, no warrant. Peace Out.

  4. Alphabet_Soup | 12/19/2014 at 9:10 PM |

    The Habersham County Sheriff’s Office should be on the hook to pay that childs medical bills – for as long as he lives.

  5. Skydog1 | 12/19/2014 at 8:34 PM |


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