Alecia Phonesavanh was sleeping with her family in her sister-in-law's home last month when suddenly the door burst open.
It was a SWAT team, looking for someone they believe lived in the home. As SWAT officers stormed inside, they tossed a concussion grenade that landed directly in the crib where Alecia's son, 19-month-old Bounkham "Bou Bou" Phonesavanh, was sleeping.
The boy suffered serious injuries, and now weeks later, Alecia is speaking out against what she said was an abuse of power.
In a powerful piece for Salon titled, "A SWAT team blew a hole in my 2-year-old son," Alecia Phonesavanh wrote about the harrowing experience.
"Flashbang grenades were created for soldiers to use during battle," she wrote. "When they explode, the noise is so loud and the flash is so bright that anyone close by is temporarily blinded and deafened. It's been three weeks since the flashbang exploded next to my sleeping baby, and he's still covered in burns."
Alecia wrote that doctors say her son still has a hole in his chest where his ribs are exposed, but that she is too afraid to look.
Phonesavanh said she was only staying with the family because their house in Wisconsin had burned down. Police never found drugs during the raid.
Alecia Phonesavanh said officers at the time also prevented her from helping her badly wounded son.
"I heard my baby wailing and asked one of the officers to let me hold him," she wrote. "He screamed at me to sit down and shut up and blocked my view, so I couldn't see my son. I could see a singed crib. And I could see a pool of blood. The officers yelled at me to calm down and told me my son was fine, that he'd just lost a tooth. It was only hours later when they finally let us drive to the hospital that we found out Bou Bou was in the intensive burn unit and that he'd been placed into a medically induced coma."
Phonesavanh said she hope the tragedy will help bring national attention to what she termed the militarization of police forces.
"I know that too many local cops have stockpiled weapons that were made for soldiers to take to war. And as is usually the case with aggressive policing, I know that people of color and poor people are more likely to be targeted," she wrote.
Phonesavanh said she is now working with the ACLU to address the problem of police force militarization. Meanwhile, her 19-month-old son is recovering from the police grenade burn, and has just been moved to a rehab facility.