One of the initial phases to insure a properly executed raid is to collect as much data on the purported location and its targets:
☒ Do methamphetamine transactions take place here?
☒ Does the owner have guns?
☐ Are there any children?
At Lakeview Heights Circle in Habersham County, Georgia, Cornelia police conducted a no-knock raid for a drug warrant on the house of meth dealer Wanis Thometheva. According to Sheriff Joey Terrell, the SWAT unit first inserted a flash bang into the home and then pushed the door open. The flash bang exploded inside a playpen blocking the door, next to the face of 19-month-old Bounkham Phonesavanh, WSBTV first reported.
“He is in a medically induced coma and he is paralyzed. I hope he’s not going to remember this. I know his sisters, his mommy and his daddy will never forget this," the boy's mother, Alecia Phonesavanh, said.
"It landed in his playpen and exploded on his pillow right in his face.”
The SWAT team, feeling remorseful due to some of them being parents themselves, had no idea that the house included the toddler; there has been no word on whether a thorough background check was initiated before the raid.
“There were no clothes, there were no toys, there was nothing to indicate that there was children present in the home. If there had been, then we would have done something different,” said Sheriff Joey Terrell.
The family of the child recently moved into Wanis Thometheva’s home because their house in Wisconsin burned to the ground. Terell noted that the family knew Thometheva was selling methamphetamine in the back of the house, so they kept the child in the main entrance, away from the transactions.
“The nurse explained it to me. His laceration on his chest is pretty deep, down to the muscle. They can’t close it up yet because all of the charring from the explosion.”
“He still needs help breathing. He’ll need that help for a while. He has a big bruise on his lung from the impact. His lung is useless right now” Phonesavanh added. "As long as we have faith and he's got lots of love, love will make anybody strong."
The family has set up a gofundme site in order to pay for Bounkham’s medical expenses.
Sheriff Joey Terrell assured that next time they’ll double check before a SWAT operation:
“Is it going to make us more careful in the next one? Yes m’am, it’s going to make us double question.” Terrell assured.
Reddit users chimed in on the idea that the police are becoming more and more militarized:
The DA is currently investigating.