Toddler Disfigured By Police Flash Grenade During Drug Raid

By McCarton Ackerman 06/02/14

Another heartbreaking casualty in the never-ending war on drugs.

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Heartbreaking photos of a toddler’s disfigured face have been released after a police flash grenade exploded in his playpen during a drug raid.

The 19-month-old baby, Bou Phonesavanh, was inside the home of a suspected drug dealer in Harbersham County, located just outside of Atlanta. He was there along with his family, who were guests in the suspected drug dealer’s house. Habersham County Sheriff Joey Terrell said that a no-knock warrant was obtained after an undercover drug deal was made just hours earlier.

Police found that something was blocking the front entrance of the door upon returning, which turned out to be the playpen that the toddler occupied. They forcibly entered the home and threw the flash grenade as a means of trying to arrest the suspect, completely unaware that a family with four children was inside.

"The information we had from our confidential informant was there was no children in the home. We always ask; that determines how we enter the house and the things we do," said Terrell. "(Police) had no way of knowing the child was in the house. The little baby was in there, didn't deserve this. These drug dealers don't care."

The parents of the child told police that the suspect was a relative who they only moved in with after their home in Wisconsin burned down. They knew meth was being sold inside of the home and put the baby out of sight in a different room while the deals took place.

The toddler is now the intensive care unit of a hospital in Atlanta. An online fund has been created to help pay for his medical expenses, which raised over $9,000 in the first 24 hours.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.