County will not pay medical bills for toddler hurt in Habersham raid


#1

WSBTV.COM:

County will not pay medical bills for toddler hurt in Habersham raid

Habersham County officials say they do not plan to pay for the medical expenses of a toddler seriously injured during a police raid.
Bounkham Phonesavah, affectionately known as “Baby Boo Boo,” spent weeks in a burn unit after a SWAT team’s flash grenade exploded near his face. The toddler was just 19-months-old and asleep in the early morning hours of May 28. SWAT officers threw the device into his home while executing a search warrant for a drug suspect.
Habersham County officials are defending their decision not to pay, but the child’s family isn’t giving up.
After weeks of recovery at two different hospitals, Channel 2 Action News was there in July as the little boy walked out of a hospital with his family.
He is doing better, but late Friday afternoon, his family’s attorney told said the family’s medical bills are mounting.

“But at this point, the county is refusing to pay,” said attorney Muwali Davis.
Habersham County’s attorney provided the following statement, saying: “The question before the board was whether it is legally permitted to pay these expenses. After consideration of this question following advice of counsel, the board of commissioners has concluded that it would be in violation of the law for it to do so.”

The attorney for Boo Boo’s family insists that is not good enough.
The Phonesavahs’ attorney also says an independent investigation showed authorities used faulty information to get a search warrant.
In June, Habersham County’s sheriff said a confidential informant told them he had bought drugs at the home. But they didn’t think any children lived there.
The SWAT team did not find the person it was looking for in the home. An investigation is underway into the handling of the case. Meanwhile, Boo Boo and his family have moved back to Wisconsin. Supporters are planning a fundraiser for him in August.

If the County Attorney is right that they are legally prevented from paying, the law should be changed. If the family sues thay might recover much more than medical expenses.


#2

Dang right the county should pay for this kids care, along with ALOT more too. I think this family will probably get a lawyer and will have no problem winning a lawsuit, especially one that includes a jury…ANY jury would award this family millions imo.

Police just dont want to admit they screwed up…so for some useless drug raid, they possibly ruined some kids entire life…what a shame that is…hasnt anyone told this swat team, the ‘war’ on drugs was lost years ago? LOL

I hope this results in some new regulations on using these kinds of tactics, I could understand if it was for a very dangerous criminal, murder suspect, child rapist, etc. but for a drug raid…CMON! imo, we dont need to use these kinds of tactics for something so petty.


#3

Suing the county would do nothing to teach a lesson. It’d only cost taxpayers. What would be best in my opinion, would be to sue the officer who burned the child.

While suit is beginning, the families lawyer could try and get this national coverage, maybe get the kid on NBC or something, make it a situation the county and their paramilitaries can’t push under the rug.


#4

All the posts seem to ignore the Parents, who put their child in harm by engaging in criminal activities in their home.

I’d agree with paying the medical bills, if the child was permanently removed and adopted to a loving family.


#5

I haven’t read anywhere that the parents were involved in illegal activity. They were staying with a relative because their house burned down. This wasn’t even their home that the attack happened in. This sort of thing is something worth protesting. I hope they sue them into oblivion.


#6

How about selling off the SWAT teams weapons and using that to pay the bill.


#7

I was a police officer in the 1970s. I served warrants accompanied by my partner and one sheriff’s officer. Police have become more militarized these days, and warrants are sometimes served at a wrong address. Pet dogs are sometimes shot, innocent parties are treated very roughly.


#8

Great idea!

What really needs to happen, is for these police to recognize the war on drugs was lost years ago, and to stop acting like they are going after Bin Laden when they do drug raids…SHHEESH, just because there some drug activity, does not mean they have to go in like a military platoon…its drugs after all, not nuclear weapons! LOL


#9

What did the parents do wrong?

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced Tuesday that at the request of the district attorney it would investigate whether narcotics officers violated the law in executing a controversial “no-knock” search warrant last Wednesday.
Meanwhile civil rights advocates delivered a letter to Yates asking that federal authorities investigate whether the rights of 19-month-old Bounkham “Bou Bou” Phonesavanh and his family were violated in the highly aggressive search that yielded no drugs, no drug dealer and no weapons. It was unclear how active a role federal authorities would play.

Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution


#10

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