New $1.65M settlement for parents of Georgia toddler injured in raid

New $1.65M settlement for parents of Georgia toddler injured in raid

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Bounkham Phonesavanh holds his mother Alecia’s hand as they walk to their table during a farewell breakfast at Delightful Eatz in Atlanta on July 2, 2014. JONATHAN PHILLIPS / FOR THE AJC

A federal judge awarded Friday a $1.65 million settlement to the parents of “Baby Bou Bou,” the Georgia toddler injured in 2014 by deputies using a flash-bang grenade while serving a no-knock warrant.

The new settlement — to be paid by insurance policies held by Rabun and Stephens counties — brings the total awarded to the family of Bounkham Phonesavanh to nearly $3.6 million. It also brings an end to civil proceedings in the case.

“The legal part is over, but the medical and emotional consequences will be with (the Phonesavanh family) the rest of their lives,” attorney Mawuli Davis, who represents the family, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Friday.

Bounkham “Bou Bou” Phonesavanh was 19 months old during the May 2014 no-knock raid at his family’s Habersham County home. Members of a task force led by Habersham deputies were seeking the child’s uncle, who allegedly sold methamphetamine to an undercover officer a day prior, when they burst into the home.

A flash-bang stun grenade was thrown into Bou Bou’s crib, burning his throat and face and landing him in the intensive care unit.

The uncle, Wanis Thonetheva, was not at the home during the raid. He was later arrested elsewhere.

Federal authorities later accused now-former Habersham County Deputy Nikki Autry of providing false information on the affidavit used to secure the no-knock warrant, but she was acquitted last year.

The Phonesavanh family previously settled civil cases against Habersham County and the city of Cornelia for around $1 million apiece.

Davis, the attorney, said Friday that Bou Bou was still recovering from his injuries. The child has difficulty swallowing and more surgeries are coming up, Davis said.

“He’s got a painful road ahead,” Davis said. “The whole family, they still struggle with the trauma of what they went through, and every medical procedure is a reminder.”

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