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Umka36

Family of Toddler Injured by SWAT 'Grenade' Faces $1M in Medical Bills

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In Georgia, Habersham County’s District Attorney Brian Rickman convened a grand jury to look into the botched police raid. After six days of testimony, the grand jury found “the drug investigation that led to these events was hurried, sloppy.”

They did not recommend criminal charges against any of the officers involved, which deeply upsets Bou Bou’s mother. “They made the mistake,” claims Alecia Phonesavanh. “And we got the backlash of everything.”

“The intelligence on the front end, in this particular situation,” says District Attorney Rickman, “is how the tragedy could have been avoided.”

The drug task force that gathered that intelligence was disbanded four months after the raid that injured Bou Bou Phonesavanh. It also happened to be the day after “20/20” arrived in Habersham County to investigate.

Since the incident, the toddler has undergone surgeries to repair his face and torso. The Phonesavanh family says they are facing close to $1 million in debt from hospital costs. Habersham County officials will not pay the medical bills, citing a "gratuity" law in Georgia that prohibits them from compensating the family.

But the Phonesavanh’s attorney, Mawuli Davis, believes the SWAT team’s actions during and after the raid make it accountable.

“The child was taken into their custody,” says Davis. “Taken from his family, as a result of an injury that was caused by the [sheriff’s department]. It would be our position that they should have to pay, and it is far from a gratuity.”

Under the state's law, the county government has sovereign immunity from negligence claims against it, and thus the payment would be an illegal "gratuity" to the family.

it's just crazy that something like this happens and there's no accountability.

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