More surgery for toddler injured by flash grenade

The toddler seriously injured during a botched drug raid by a Habersham County SWAT team will undergo more surgery Wednesday but this time, Habersham officials won’t be footing the bill.

The county’s attorney announced last month that it would be a violation of the law to pay medical expenses for Bou Bou Phonesavanh, now 22 months old. He did not elaborate.

Wednesday’s surgery, in Madison, Wisconsin, where the Phonesavanhs now reside, is the first of many Bou Bou will require to repair nerve damage in his face and chest. The child sustained a brain injury, collapsed lung and his nose was detached after deputies, serving a no-knock warrant, lobbed a flash grenade device into the home. It landed, inadvertently, on Bou Bou’s pillow.

The late May raid attracted worldwide attention, spawning investigations by both the GBI and federal officials. Brian Rickman, district attorney for the Mountain Judicial Circuit, received the GBI’s report in late July but has yet to decide whether any of the law enforcement officers involved in the raid and its planning will face criminal charges.

Attorney Mawuli Davis, who represents the Phonesavanhs, said the county’s decision not to pay Bou Bou’s medical bills is “very unfortunate.”

“Not paying the bills could indicate their desire to fight the case,” Davis said.

Rickman told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that his review of the GBI’s findings could take up to two months. The Habersham sheriff’s office has said it will have no comment until the case is resolved.

Supporters of the Phonesavanh family will hold a prayer vigil starting at noon Wednesday in front of Grady Memorial Hospital.

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