Criminal Charges for Georgia Police Who Disfigured Toddler During Drug Raid Dropped

| by Lisa Fogarty

Police who took part in a drug raid in Georgia that severely disfigured a toddler will not be charged with a crime, a Georgia grand jury determined.

On May 29, the Habersham SWAT team reportedly threw a grenade into then 19-month-old Bounkham Phonesavanh’s bedroom, where it landed just inches away from where the baby was sleeping, reports Opposing Views. As a result, he lost part of his nose and left nipple, and suffered from burns to his face, brain injuries and a collapsed lung.

Police say they were searching for one of the family’s relatives, whom they believed was a drug dealer who was concealing a great number of weapons inside of the house, reports the New York Daily News. They later admitted they did not know a baby was also living at the residence. The suspect they were searching for did not reportedly live at the house, nor were guns or drugs found inside of the home.

A 23-person Habersham County grand jury spent six days hearing the case before determining on Monday that police were not guilty of a crime, reports the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.

Mawul Davis, the Phonesavanh’s family attorney, says they were “devastated” to hear the jury’s verdict. Their child spent five weeks at a hospital in Atlanta, where he woke up from a medically induced coma and had several surgeries. He still requires several more surgeries and the family has been hit with an $800,000 hospital bill.

Habersham County originally stated it would pay for the toddler’s medical expenses, but has not acted upon its promise yet.

Sources: Opposing Views, New York Daily News, Atlanta-Journal Constitution

Photo Credit: WSB-TV, Jonathan Phillips/Special/Atlanta-Journal Constitution