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No Charges? Child Horrifically Injured by Police Stun Grenade, Grand Jury Refuses to Indict

On May 28, a Georgia SWAT Team burst into a Cornelia home during a middle of the night no-knock raid and threw a stun grenade.

The grenade landed in the playpen of a then 19-month-old boy, whose family was staying in the home after a fire had forced them out of their own.

The toddler was horrifically injured and spent five weeks in the hospital. He also endured numerous surgeries to repair his damaged face.

At the time, the Cornelia police said they were looking for a relative of his and had no idea that a child was in the house.

“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,” Cornelia Police Chief Rick Darby told WSB-TV shortly after the incident.

The child’s mother was heartbroken and concerned, since the family does not have health insurance.

“It’s my baby. He’s only a baby. He didn’t deserve any of this,” Alecia Phonesavanh said. “He’s only 19 months old. He didn’t do anything.”

Now, several months later, and over $800,000 in hospital bills piling up, the family has learned that no police officer will be charged for the assault, which caused Bounkham (Bou Bou) Phonesavanh to lose part of his nose and left nipple. He also suffered burns to his face, brain injuries and a collapsed lung and had to be placed in a medically induced coma.

“We are reviewing the grand jury findings with our client. They are devastated and trying to comprehend the gravity of this decision,”  Mawuli Davis, an attorney for the family  told CBS 46. “This is a very sad day for this family and for the people of Georgia.”

To make matters worse, Habersham County, where the incident took place, had promised to cover medical bills for the child. Since there is a civil suit pending, the county has not yet made good on that offer, meaning not only will not a single police officer face charges for seriously injuring the child in a raid gone terribly wrong, so far the county has refused to pay up.

Photo Credit: WSB-TV

About the author

Tamar is a New York based freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in over 15 publications. You can catch her work regularly on Issue Hawk, Latest, Jspace, and MediaGlobal.