Police Abuse

SWAT Team Reportedly Throws Flash Bang, Burns Toddler During No-Knock Raid

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baby bounkham
via WSBTV

Bounkham Phonesavanh, a nineteen month old toddler, is in a medically-induced coma after reportedly suffering severe burns when a SWAT team from the Habersham County Sheriff's Office in Georgia threw a flash grenade into his home during a no-knock raid apparently over a drug purchase made there earlier in the week. Sheriff Joey Terrell said officers asked the informant who directed them to the house whether there were any children and were told there weren't so there was nothing they could have done to prevent it. Via Access North Georgia:

Terrell said both the district attorney and Georgia Bureau of Investigation [GBI] have said there was no wrongdoing on the SRT's part.

"I've talked to the D.A., I've talked to the GBI," Terrell said. "I've given them the whole information and they say there's nothing else we can do. There's nothing to investigate, there's nothing to look at. Given the information given, GBI's SWAT team would have done the exact same thing—they'd have used the exact same scenario to enter the house."

Whether the sheriff's office should be executing no-knock warrants on homes because they can find informants to buy drugs from there seems like something Terrell, the GBI or the DA could "look at." Unless the social media activists launch the right hash tag to end the war on drugs, Bounkham Phonesavanh is unlikely to be its last child victim. No one thinks of the children when cops get to play commando.

UPDATE: Commenter sarcasmic points out that the Daily Mail reports it was unclear whether drugs were found in the house—which strongly suggests that they weren't. 

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111 responses to “SWAT Team Reportedly Throws Flash Bang, Burns Toddler During No-Knock Raid

  1. officers asked the informant who directed them to the house whether there were any children and were told there weren’t

    Let the lawsuits against the informant begin.

    1. officers asked the informant who directed them to the house whether there were any children and were told there weren’t

      I’m sure there was absolutely no way for the LEOs to verify that claim. Such information does not exist.

      1. That’s correct, some guy.

        The last Census was *four years* ago!

    2. Sue the informant for what?
      The cardboard box he lives in?
      His personal stash of Meth?
      It’s a sorry, sorry business, all the way around.
      The cops shouldn’t throw a grenade unless they KNOW what its going to hit.
      Hard on the cops?
      Yep.
      You can find safer work if that worries you.

      1. The cops shouldn’t throw a grenade.

        Fixed it.

  2. But think of the danger the children will be in if we scale back on the insanely violent SWAT raids!

    1. The brave officers went home safely at the end of their shift. It’s all that matters.

  3. No one thinks of the children when cops get to play commando.

    Exactly.

    It’s all fun and games until somebody gets hurt. Oh wait. Isn’t that the idea of these raids… To hurt someone just in case, maybe, there might be, sort of a slight chance an Officer would get hurt if they just knocked and asked to speak to someone?

    1. Actually they could lower their risk tenfold by waiting patiently for the suspect to come out and then apprehending them. But no, they couldn’t possibly take the risk that someone might flush some drugs. It’s far better to risk getting people hurt or killed instead.

      I’m sick of these reprobates.

      1. Do you think honest to goodness LEO’s want to stand around waiting for some suspect to take out trash or walk to the store?

        How the heck would they be able to shine at the cop bar after work without stories of harrowing raids where small scared dogs are killed because LEO’s are afraid of everything?

  4. so there was nothing they could have done to prevent it

    Cowardly, irresponsible sons of bitches. Eye for an eye.

    1. the infant should have had better parents.

      /Authoritay

  5. “Is it going to make us be more careful in the next one? Yes ma’am, it is. It’s gonna make us double question.”

    Fuck your regrets, you gung-ho macho arsehole. Fuck ’em right in the ear.

    1. “Are there any children in the house?”

      “Are you sure?”

      Double question complete. Let the raid commence. This time we really went above and beyond.

  6. No one asks why cops have flash grenades in the first place. Here’s something they could do to prevent it: instruct the sheriffs to stop throwing flash grenades at the residents of their county. Ban them from having any type of grenade from now until eternity.

    1. Or why a county of 45,000 has a militarized swat team? How else would these suburban commandos get their warboner off?

      1. How else would these suburban commandos get their warboner off?

        Join the real Armed Forces and go abroad?

        Oh, wait, that would mean lower pay, long times away, discomfort, people who shoot back and stricter rules of engagement.

    2. Ban them from having any type of grenade from now until eternity.

      Not so fast, Atanarjuat.

      If they’d used a *fragmentation* grenade that poor baby would not be suffering.

      1. Exactly. Send them for a tour or two in a place where hand grenades are part of the scenery. Wanna play bad ass? Hell, we have a real war waiting just for you.

        You wanna stay safe and go home at the end of the day? Get a fucking office job.

        1. Fucking exactly!
          see how bad ass these pussies are when the “bad” guys shoot back. maybe its about time that we make stricter regs to become a cop, kinda like testing for mental unstability, and ensuring they learn the rules of law, and perhaps not exempting them from punishments as required by the 14th amendment.
          all to chase down them “scary” drug dealers that they themselves create by enforcing the war on drugs.
          a perpetual motion machine of civil destruction.

          1. kinda like testing for mental unstability,

            I am of a mixed mind on this. Between this and the current call for mental health requirements to exercise ones Second Amendment rights we would be lucky if 10% of law enforcement were allowed to carry a sidearm.

            1. So… what you’re saying is that there’s no downside? Well, except that 10% of law enforcement would still be armed. I guess that’s a downside.

  7. As much as I am against the War on Drugs and believe that all drugs should be decriminalized, this department appears to have done far more things right than others that get reported.
    They did more direct observation, and indicate that they look for children present. And they did get the suspect at the right house.

    It is very difficult to account for visitors not normally at the house.

    The child is a victim more of the parent’s choice than the officers.I find it next to impossible to believe the mother would not know that drugs were sold in the house and still brought her child there.

    There is an elevated risk for normal drug/gang violence as well as police action and it is as likely the kid get hurt from normal shit that happens around drug dealers.

    1. The child is a victim more of the parent’s choice than the officers.

      No, it’s not, you fucking moron. The pigs threw the grenade, not the parents. “Presense of drugs” does not = “need to use grenades on otherwise peaceful citizens.”

      I find it next to impossible to believe the mother would not know that drugs were sold in the house and still brought her child there.

      I guess I already noted you’re a fucking moron, but I’ll note it again – you’re a fucking moron.

      Have a nice day in your bubble.

      1. PS

        It is very difficult to account for visitors not normally at the house.

        All the more reason NOT to throw fucking grenades. Because you or I might be there, doing nothing more than asking for a glass of water.

        But you want to excuse the cops – cause, moron. Enjoy your slavery – I won’t.

    2. bull fucking shit. They weren’t chasing some maniacal serial killer. It was a drug case. A. Drug. Case. Nothing that justified this level of force based, apparently, on the say-so of an informant.

      1. Informants are usually such honorable, up-standing citizens. Paragons of virtue, really.

        1. I have heard that the police supposedly fit that description as well.

          But I fail to see how burning babies makes one a paragon of virtue….

          1. But I fail to see how burning babies makes one a paragon of virtue….

            Moloch would like to enlighten you.

        2. Shut your mouth – Fuzzy Dunlop is a saint!

      2. Yeah, but drugs hurt the CHILDERNZ!!, even if only so indirectly. You know, like when SWAT teams blow them up with hand grenades.

    3. Daniel, your actually blaming the mother for this?

      I’ve seen some twisted convoluted thinking displayed before. But damn..

      1. “I’ve seen some twisted convoluted thinking displayed before. But damn..

        Daniel might make a good press secretary in Obama’s admin:

        Robert Gibbs Says Anwar al-Awlaki’s Son, Killed By Drone Strike, Needs ‘Far More Responsible Father’

      2. I’m against everything the cops did here, but yeah, this is also bad parenting.

        1. Its not bad parenting – unless you consider having a child means you’re hostage to the state.

          The father was making money, putting bread on the table for his family. Let’s not forget that.

          Also, let’s not forget that the reason this happened is that the job he chose is one a group of powerful people have deemed worthy of a death sentence.

          1. agreed. when the law is unjust it is not the citizen who is in the wrong for the collateral damage, it is the government who insists on maximizing the collateral damage and pain to scare others

      1. That was pretty Tulperiffic, was it not?

        1. ha yeah where did that cop-sucker go anyways?

      2. That’s a gutsy early call. But I think you’re right.

    4. The child is a victim more of the parent’s choice than the officers.

      FUCK YOU. The child is a victim of the State’s insanity.

    5. Here is what they did wrong – they threw a fucking grenade into a house for no reason.

    6. You can only give credit to these police officers if you either believe that the offenses they are doing this for warrant this level of violence *or* that the police must do whatever it takes to enforce the law as written.

      In the first case you’d just have to be a horrible human being to think that low-level drug dealing/use merits SWAT response/no-knock raids.

      In the second, I’d point out that even cops are moral agents and should be able to decide that enforcing certain laws is morally indefensible.

      Cops do,and have always had, the privilege to turn a blind eye – its the first level of prosecutorial discretion. If slavery were re-instated, who here would truly support police enforcement of the new law simply because cops must enforce the law.

      We say that police must enforce the law *impartially* – that impartially refers to the citizens, not the law itself. As a moral agent, a police officer (yeah, even cops are moral agents) has a duty to judge the law.

    7. Idiot. Fucking Idiots, to paraphrase the others.

      Here’s my standard response to every drug war SWAT raid. If their goal really was to get rid of drugs and hurt drug dealers, they’d watch the doors and windows, use a bullhorn to announce they were going to get a warrant in an hour or two, and wait. Let the druggies flush their drugs, then go in, find none, and leave.

      No trial, no arrest, no incarceration == a lot less expense. No drugs == drugs gone and druggie in trouble for owing a pile of money.

      That’s IFFF the War on Some Drugs was moral in the first place, and IFFF the drug warriors actually believed their own propaganda that drugs are evil. But of course none of that is true.

      And you, you effin idjyut, blame the mother for drug warriors burning her baby. You really are a piece of work.

    8. The officers could have always chosen to not do this raid, or conduct it in a different manner.

      1. yeah like get a fucking warrant….or like getting a mother fucking warrant as pursuant to the 4th fucking amendment
        no exemptions
        no excuses
        if you have enough RAS to warrant grenade use you have enough to get a fucking warrant
        kid was burned because pigs are lazy cowardly fucks with warboners
        the kinda pussies that always played doom with god mode turned on.

        1. They had a warrant

    9. It is very difficult to account for visitors not normally at the house.

      What kind of subnormals mount a militarized raid against a house that hasn’t been under constant observation for, I dunno, a few hours? I mean, if you don’t know who is in the house, you don’t know if there are a half-dozen cartel gunmen in the house, either, do you?

      The child is a victim more of the parent’s choice than the officers

      I wonder if you’d say that if the kid had caught a stray bullet from a gangbanger. Somehow, I doubt you’d excuse the person who pulled the trigger quite so quickly as you excuse the person who threw the grenade.

    10. Go back to Police One and swap some cum with your buddies.

  8. Thanks – I didn’t want the rest of my granola bar this morning anyway…

    1. That’s all right, hippie food is bad for you.

      1. Its not hippie food. Granola bars actually have sugar in them and are ‘edible’.

        Hippie granola comes in weird shaped chunks and has the approximate texture and edibility of gravel.

  9. Given the information given, GBI’s SWAT team would have done the exact same thing – they’d have used the exact same scenario to enter the house.

    This is the kind of flexible and adaptive thinking I think we have come to expect of the New Professionalism.

    1. AND NOTHING ELSE HAPPENED!

    2. A hammer works the same way every time.

  10. so there was nothing they could have done to prevent it.

    Procedures were followed.

    All officers returned safely to their homes and families.

    1. What’s important to remember is it’s they and their families who matter and no one else. Well, no one else other than the political class and the very wealthy that is. Everyone else is quite expendable.

  11. This is absolutely disgusting. Any chance the state media picks this up and the average moron gets to see the consequences of the WOD?

    1. Don’t know about the traditional media, but I saw it being ranted about on Facebook before I saw it here.

  12. According to the Daily Mail “It’s not clear if any drugs were found in the home during the raid.”

    Which means they didn’t find any drugs. Because if they had, you know they’d be shouting from the rooftops about how they saved that poor infant from inhuman druggies. So they got the wrong house, or they had bad information, or otherwise screwed up before they even launched the raid.

    Charities are already collecting money for the child’s medical care, and we know how much the department will shell out. Nada.

    1. … and we know how much the department will shell out. Nada.

      True, but if the mother gets a good lawyer, she might get a decent settlement award out of the taxpayers.

  13. If this country is to survive, these present times will be remembered for their insane injustices due to a culture of mass ignorance. And sadly, no matter which way it goes no one will ever be held accountable or made to pay for their part.

  14. I know I’m going to get eaten alive for this one, but I’m with Daniel in at least one respect. Of all the raids I’ve read about, these guys really did seem to do more than most (not saying that’s enough). And they also seem genuinely upset and broken up about it.
    At the same time, though, I think that makes it even worse. Because if they “did everything right” and this still happens, that should open their eyes just a bit.
    But no. They don’t rethink the tactics and use of SWAT (and perhaps even fundamental evil of the drug war) since they clearly can’t know whether there are children in the home – and that a pack n play is being used as a door stopper(!). Instead, in order to assuage their guilt, they’ve doubled-down, said there is nothing they could have done, and are calling these drug dealers domestic terrorists.
    Why is it so hard for humans to truly learn from their mistakes?

    1. Because they aren’t really sorry. They just know how to pretend to be.

      If they truly regretted it, they would change, but they won’t, so they’re not.

      1. ^This^

        Revealed versus stated preferences are where the truth dwells.

    2. Why is it so hard for humans to truly learn from their mistakes?

      Because they “did everything right”.

      Please try to keep up.

    3. First rule of authority is to never admit to making a mistake.

      1. “We keep asking ourselves, ‘how did this happen?’,” Terrell said. “No one can answer that – you can’t answer that. You try and do everything right. Bad things can happen. That’s just the world we live in. Bad things happen to good people.

        Yep, fuck these guys.

        1. Bad things happen to good people.

          Well, yeah. I mean, it’s the cops who are the true victims here. They meant well when they threw a grenade into a home before rushing in with fully automatic weapons. They don’t mean any harm. They’re the victims. They’re the good people. It’s the druggies who are the bad people.

          1. Bad things happen to most people who have hand grenades thrown at them.

            If this guy Terrell is saying that the bad thing happened to the family that are good people then why did they throw a hand grenade at them ?

            Is he saying that the bad thing happened to the cops and the cops are good people ?

            Good people don’t throw hand grenades at other people because of a low level drug deal.

        2. How did this happen?

          Well, for starters you decided that the need to preserve evidence on a low-level drug dealing case over-rode the need to ensure the safety of the accused and anyone else in the vicinity.

          I mean, they really don’t see that they had a choice here. That they could have just walked away. And I guarantee you safe passage . . . wait, what?

          1. isnt that why they use 9 & 5.56 instead of .45 & 7.62? safety is paramount!
            but then they busted out flashbangs
            burning white phosphor when used as a weapon is decried by the Geneva convention as Inhumane and unnecessarily brutal as it causes a slow painful burning death
            for the rest of you a flashbang detonates at a temperature of 10000 degrees F and has a high probability to detonate natural gas lines and even melt away metals not to mention burning flesh and lungs. this is a weapon of war and unless being used against a fortified position has no civilian applications where public safety could be reasonably expected through its use.
            did the apartment have natural gas lines in it? did the police even check?
            could the injuries have been much worse if the grenade landed within 2 feet of a gas line?
            are they even investigating or just busy rubbing out their war boners

    4. I still think there is a fundamental human inability to admit we’ve made a mistake even when we regret the outcome. People can be truly sorry for something they’ve done, but in order to feel less guilty about it, find a way to justify it. Being sorry and yet justifying the action aren’t mutually exclusive. I’m not saying it’s right, but it happens all the time, and I think that’s what is happening here. And I just wish that the police could see what the rest of us see – that it’s a fundamental issue with the drug war and tactics, not the intricacies of a specific bust going wrong.

      1. And, yes, I do realize that there are plenty of cops who couldn’t care less about this kind of thing. Drugs bad, collateral damage, etc. etc.
        These just don’t strike me as those cops this time.

        But then there’s this that I just thought of: If it had been an innocent adult, there wouldn’t have been such a long, tortured explanation.
        But of course, we all know there are no innocent adults. /sarcasm

        1. These just don’t strike me as those cops this time.

          I hate to break it to you, but all cops are those cops. They’re just saying the right things to the media because lying is part of the job.

      2. I think this is closer to the “fundamental human inability” to own up to being such an irresponsible thug that you have just maimed AN INFANT – and in admitting such you stand a realistic and justifiable possibility of going to prison for what will probably be the rest of your life.

        I can understand why one would not want to admit the truth in this case. Excuse or condone it? Fuck that.

        1. I’m not excusing or condoning anything, just observing what I think is different about this case.
          It reminds me of anti-vaxxers who are all “my got measles or chickenpox, and she was miserable and had to be hospitalized, but didn’t die.” Instead of saying, “that sucked and she could have died, so I’ll vaccinate my next child,” they say “the vaccine is useless (and even dangerous) and I’ll send my next kid to a chickenpox party.”

          1. I’m not saying anything about what you would or wouldn’t excuse or condone.

            I’m saying that not one sad asshole from the top administrator who initiated this raid, to the planner, the guy in charge on the ground, down to the one who pulled the pin on the flashbang gave as much of a second thought about the possible downsides as you or I would have had we found said flashbang on a sidewalk somewhere.

            It isn’t like they had to cross the Korean DMZ to find out if there might be some unrelated people in that building. I could come up with a dozen ways to find that out before running a raid.

            It isn’t that they could not possibly figure it out, it is that they know they can get away with whatever fallout happens so they take the lazy way out.

            I say that if they are so sure of what they are doing that they run a raid without all the information they should have then they should be big enough to take responsibility for the outcome.

            1. I do agree with that 100%. There are never any personal consequences for the cops or politicians or judges or da’s, so they have little incentive to be more careful – or stop this BS entirely. And it’s pathetic that something like this (in spite of a lack of direct personal consequences) doesn’t make them step back and take a look at the procedures that they followed and tactics that they used.

  15. “Oops.”

  16. At least no mistakes were made.

    1. Hey, didn’t you hear Daniel? The mom made the mistake of living with people who were being targeted by a SWAT team. And the informant made the mistake of not knowing there was a child around. And the child made the mistake of not doing a duck and cover when the grendage was thrown. So many mistakes were made… by other people.

      1. The child made the mistake of having a bad parent. He’s no doubt a future criminal. /SWAT derp

        1. The baby was flailing it’s arms and resisting, obviously.

  17. You know, just recently I was thinking, I haven’t heard any stories lately about the police using flash bang grenades. And I was going to comment here about that. Maybe this was a bit of good news, that they were realizing grenades are a bad idea, and were stopping using them.

    AND NOW THIS. A 19 month old baby in a coma.

  18. The police got their domestic terrorist

    at another location

    Thometheva was not at the home at the time of the raid but was later arrested at another house on a felony drug charge of distribution of meth.

    So the SWAT raid produced no drugs, no suspect but they got to burn a toddler who might not survive. The police say they’d do it all again.

  19. If the situations weren’t terrible enough I also feel sad when I read these stories because I know from personal experience that no matter how terrible and heart wrenching one of these police abuse stories are LEOs and their wives will never admit wrong. They are always ready with excuses for the officier(s).

  20. The reports linked in the article indicate that it was known there were weapons in the house. So /if it were necessary/ to enter the house, the use of force might be justified.

    However, there was no need to enter the house in the first place. As has been pointed out by other commenters, the police could simply have waited for the occupants to come out to arrest them. The fact that this might take several days is nothing next to the shattered lives caused by this unjustified escalation of force. The police were clearly in the wrong here. But to add insult to (life-threatening) injury, if the family gets any money out of this, it will be paid by the taxpayers, not to police.

    It’s time to hold the police /individually/ accountable for their misuse of force. As long as they can hide behind a badge, this problem will only get worse.

    1. The mere existence of weapons does not, and never has, justified the use of force – exemplified in this case by a SWAT team kicking a door down at night and tossing in flash-bangs.

      PLENTY of (hell, most) criminals have guns and will still meekly surrender to law enforcement because the potential penalty for their crimes is far less than life imprisonment (or the death penalty, which, technically, is the same thing) or summary execution they’re going to get for waving a gun around.

      And keep in mind – the guys was selling drugs. That’s a primo, number one, paragon of an example of a malum prohibitum ‘crime’ (as opposed to malum in se crimes like robbery or murder).

    2. it was known there were weapons in the house

      No weapons were reported seized/found/present at the house.

      1. The actual presence or absence of weapons has no bearing as to whether they were ‘known’ to be there or not. Same as not actually finding drugs.

        Someone said there *might* be the possibility that a gun of some type could be on the premises and that’s enough to establish ‘known’. Same requirement to ascertain the likelihood of there being drugs there.

  21. The reports linked in the article indicate that it was known there were weapons in the house. So /if it were necessary/ to enter the house, the use of force might be justified.

    When officers know for certain that they will face violence when issuing a warrant they have one of their own actually think and develop a plan as in the face of the Whitey Bulger arrest they drew him away from his house with a false story about his storage shed being damaged.

    Or when facing danger from an in progress shooter they sit on their asses. As was the case with Columbine.

    1. *This

      If there was ever an example of a SWAT team in action during a truly dangerous situation, it’s Columbine.

      An “Elite Team” armed and armored to the teeth, too scared to take on a couple of cunts armed with Tec-9’s. All the while high school kids were loosing their lives. Officer safety indeed.

      I wonder if they will pin the injuries to the baby on the guy the eventually arrested?

  22. WHAT KIND OF TOILETS DO THEY HAVE IN GEORGIA???!?!?!!! I can barely get my government-approved low-flow toilet to perform the task it was DESIGNED for! Exactly how many pounds of drugs can be flushed before the cops get to the bathroom?!?!?

    Hey, here’s an idea: turn off the water to the house before you raid it If those crazed druggies can flush away all their drugs with the 1.5 gallons that are already in the tank, then it’s a small time operation anyway.

    1. I’ve been thinking about that – every house I’ve lived in has had the main cut-off for the water out in the front yard, right next to the sidewalk.

      Not even locked in anyway, pick up the cover and reach down and turn the water off.

      DO that while another officer turns on the hose spigot and you’ll drain the pressure out in 30 seconds – that gives you one flush with no refill.

  23. I see no mention of what the one guy was arrested for.

    I’m guessing it was for the buy they did the previous day, and there was nothing in the house. No guns, no drugs.

    1. Distributing meth. The suspect was arrested later at another location. There is no report of any arrests or property seizures at the home the police violently entered and used an incendiary device to severely burn the 19 month old child in his playpen.

      1. And the sheriff is indignant… says he wouldn’t have done anything different.

        1. Not just indignant, he practically hangs the kid in effigy.

          Not only was what he did “not wrong”, it wasn’t “not wrong” enough!

          Let that be a lesson to all you drug dealers, they’ll burn innocent children and publicly put it around your neck!

  24. I would first like to apologize for being the source of the infamous

    “Towing the Line”

    It has taken me years to re-register, instead of just lurking.

    I have since become a father.

    I would find and kill every pig on this raid if I was the dad.

  25. Link to donation page for baby’s family.

    They need your help.

    http://www.gofundme.com/9mih84

  26. Sheriff Joey Terrell said officers asked the informant who directed them to the house whether there were any children and were told there weren’t so there was nothing they could have done to prevent it.

    There was nothing they could have done to prevent it. You know, except the obvious: not doing it.

  27. Nothing they could have done to prevent it? One direct way to prevent incidents like this is to stop throwing flash-bangs inside of people’s homes.

  28. This fucking disgusts me.

  29. The HotAir commentariat is of course well on the side of the cops. SMH. As much as I want to concentrate my proselytizing (or trolling, if you like) on waking up and converting stupid leftists, I find myself more frustrated with conservatives at the moment, mostly on NatSec, as much of the right does show encouraging signs on softening up on drug war. But the HA riff raff, which I (rightly or wrongly) view as a likely representation of the wider primary electorate Rand will encounter, is radically lowering my faith in humanity.

    The most popular defense of the LEOs seems to be “they had to go in flash banging sight unseen, else how would they prevent the evildoers from flushing their contraband?!?!?”

    I guess I get so down about this because conservatives are supposed to be marginally more acquainted with concepts of liberty and private property than progressives, and I’d sooner drink turpentine and piss on a brush fire than associate with the left.

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