County refuses to pay medical expenses for burned baby during botched drug raid
Back in May, a swat team in Atlanta, GA was serving a no-knock warrant during the middle of the night for drugs. What ultimately happened was that no drugs were found, and a baby was severely burned by the flash grenade thrown into its crib.
Now the county is refusing to accept responsibility for the actions of their sheriff’s department and pay the child’s medical bills.
Alecia Phonesavanh told WSBTV that police threw a stun grenade in her son’s crib, causing severe burns which landed the toddler in a medically induced coma at the hospital burn unit.
Phonesavanh said she was at her sister-in-law’s home in Habersham County early Wednesday when police raided the house.
“It landed in his playpen and exploded on his pillow right in his face,” Phonesavanh said.
“He’s in the burn unit. We go up to see him and his whole face is ripped open. He has a big cut on his chest,” Phonesavanh said. “He’s only 19 months old. He didn’t do anything.”
Her son, Bounkham Phonesavanh, had to stay in two hospitals over the course of almost two months before finally being able to go home in July.
The total cost of his medical bills is still not certain, as more keep coming in and he will require further treatment.
Habersham County’s attorney gave a 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 family’s attorney says that he will be be pressing further to get the county to pay up, and says an independent investigation shows negligence by the county.
Authorities originally raided the home based on a tip from an informant who claims to have bought $50 worth of drugs from someone at the home. The informant also said that the person was heavily armed.
After the raid, the person who allegedly sold the drugs was not there, and no drugs were found in the home.
The family has no insurance and no way to pay what will likely amount to several hundred thousands of dollars in medical expenses.
By: Stephen Carter
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