Members of a Georgia SWAT team whose actions led to a baby having a hole blown in his chest blamed the baby for his injuries, saying he should have known better than to be in the trajectory of a flash-bang grenade, court documents reveal.
In fact, at one point the SWAT team even suggested, in its defense, that the toddler’s actions constituted “criminal conduct,” The Free Thought Project is reporting.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, in May, 2014, then 19-month-old Bounkham ‘Baby Bou Bou’ Phonesevanh was left horribly disfigured during a botched drug raid carried out by the Habersham County (Georgia) Sheriff’s Office. Searching for a man suspected of selling $50 worth of meth, SWAT team members executed a 3:00 a.m., no-knock warrant on the home where the baby’s family was staying. During the raid, a SWAT team member threw a flash-bang grenade into the sleeping baby’s crib; it detonated, blowing a hole in his chest and leaving him with critical injuries.
The baby survived, but with horrifying injuries that have required several surgeries to repair, and will require several more. The family’s medical bills have run to well over a million dollars — bills that the Habersham County Sheriff’s Office have refused to pay.
Late last month, the family reached a million-dollar settlement with the county’s insurance provider, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The settlement won’t cover all of the family’s medical expenses — or even close to it — but their attorney said that the case will likely be litigated further.
Court documents made public this week, and made available in their entirety by Scribd, detail how the defendants in the lawsuit — individual members of the SWAT team responsible for the baby’s injuries — tried to defend their actions that night. Some of their claims are rather startling, according to Pro Libertate writer Norman Grigg.
In one portion of their defense submitted to the court, the defendants claimed that the plaintiffs — and Baby Bou Bou is named as the chief plaintiff in the court documents — were engaging in “criminal conduct,” meaning that the toddler was acting as a criminal simply by being in the home where a drug raid was being carried out.
“Plaintiffs’ injuries and damages, if any, were caused by the deliberate, criminal conduct of plaintiffs, and such criminal conduct supersedes any and all negligence or liability, if any, on the part of these defendants.”
Grigg expresses his outrage at the Habersham County Sheriff’s Office’s claim that the family — and specifically, the baby — were at fault for the baby’s injuries.
“In any case, [the SWAT team claims that] Baby Bou Bou, along with his parents and his siblings, are fully and exclusively to blame for the injuries that nearly killed the child and left the family with more than one million dollars in medical bills. The SWAT team that invaded the home in Cornelia, Georgia on the basis of a bogus anonymous tip that a $50 drug transaction had occurred there is legally blameless.”
In October, 2014, a Georgia grand jury declined to issue criminal charges against any of the members of the SWAT team that disfigured Baby Bou Bou. With last month’s settlement, the county and the individuals involved in the botched raid can also no longer be held civilly liable for Baby Bou Bou’s injuries; any further legal action the family takes will have to be directed at the county’s insurers.
Do you believe that Baby Bou Bou and his family are at fault for the SWAT team raid that led to his chest being blown open by a grenade? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
[Image courtesy of: The Free Thought Project]