Mom: ‘Police Blew a Hole In My 2-Year-Old Son’
After their house burned down, Alecia Phonesavanh took her mom, dad, three daughters, and 2-year-old son to stay in Atlanta with her sister-in-law. While at the house, a SWAT team raided the home in search for drugs. During the raid, they threw a flash grenade that landed in the 2-year-old boy’s crib and left the toddler fighting for his life. Now, Phonesavanh has written of her horrible ordeal for Salon, writing that it’s time for cops to stop treating neighborhoods like war zones.
In her column, titled, ‘A SWAT team blew a hole in my 2-year-old son,’ Phonesavanh writes, “a SWAT team broke in, looking for a small amount of drugs they thought my husband’s nephew had. Some of my kids’ toys were in the front yard but the officers claimed they had no way of knowing children might be present.”
“After the SWAT team broke down the door, they threw a flashbang grenade inside. It landed in my son’s crib,” she writes.
She notes that, “Flashbang grenades were created for soldiers to use during battle. When they explode, the noise is so loud and the flash is so bright that anyone close by is temporarily blinded and deafened. It’s been three weeks since the flashbang exploded next to my sleeping baby, and he’s still covered in burns. There’s a hole in his chest that exposes his ribs. At least that’s what I’ve been told; I’m afraid to look.”
“My husband’s nephew, the one they were looking for, wasn’t there. He doesn’t even live in that house… They searched for drugs and never found any,” she writes. “I heard my baby wailing and asked one of the officers to let me hold him. He screamed at me to sit down and shut up and blocked my view, so I couldn’t see my son. I could see a singed crib. And I could see a pool of blood. The officers yelled at me to calm down and told me my son was fine, that he’d just lost a tooth.”
After the incident, 2-year-old Bou Bou had to be taken to the intensive burn unit and had to be placed in a medically induced coma.
The reasoning for the raid is what perplexes Phonesavanh the most.
“Every morning, I have to face the reality that my son is fighting for his life,” she writes. “It’s not clear whether he’ll live or die. All of this to find a small amount of drugs?”
“The only silver lining I can possibly see is that my baby Bou Bou’s story might make us angry enough that we stop accepting SWAT raids as a normal way to fight the ‘war on drugs,” she says.
She concludes, saying, “My kids don’t want to go to sleep at night because they’re afraid the cops will kill them or their family. It’s time to remind the cops that they should be serving and protecting our neighborhoods, not waging war on the people in them.”