Police Abuse

Sheriff in Burned Baby Raid Wants Your Prayers; Target of Warrant Could Be Charged For Injuries to Toddler


Habersham County Sheriff's Office

CNN has updates on the story of the Georgia SWAT team that threw a flash bang while executing a no-knock warrant that severely burned Bounkham Phonesavanh, a nineteen-month-old baby. Habersham County Sheriff Joey Terrell says the deputies involved are "devastated" and that they've been called "baby killers" and received threats. "All I can say is pray for the baby, his family and for us," the sheriff told CNN.

Terrell has insisted his officers and those of the local police department did nothing wrong and blamed the target of the warrant (not found at the house that was invaded) on the attack on the toddler. A chief assistant district attorney for the county, J. Edward Staples, says the target of the warrant could in fact be charged for the injuries the sheriff's deputies caused the toddler. In an obvious attempt to immunize himself and his office from liability, the sheriff has claimed the situation was unavoidable even as he attempted to offer reassurances that his SWAT team would be more diligent in the future. He told CNN that his officers "obviously would have done things different" (IF they knew there was a child in the home), like go in through a side door or not use a flash bang. Until using violence to crack down on non-violent "crimes" becomes politically untenable for "public servants," it won't matter how much ass-covering law enforcement does after the fact, these kinds of incidents will continue to happen.

The toddler's family, who was staying with a relative at the home that was attacked after their own home in Wisconsin was burned down, say they don't have insurance and a family friend has set up a website for donations.

A circuit district attorney is conducting a "review" of the incident, which should be done next week according to the chief assistant district attorney. Terrell had previously said neither the district attorney's office nor the Georgia Bureau of Investigation was investigating the incident.