Habersham County , Georgia officials say they do not plan to pay for the medical expenses of a toddler seriously injured during a police raid.
Bounkham Phonesavah, affectionately known as "Baby Boo Boo," spent weeks in a burn unit after a SWAT team's flash grenade exploded near his face. The toddler was 19 months old and asleep in the early morning hours of May 28. SWAT officers threw the device into his home while executing a search warrant for a drug suspect.
County officials are defending their decision not to pay, but the child's family isn't giving up.
After weeks of recovery at two different hospitals, WSB-TV reported in July that the little boy walked out of a hospital with his family.
He is doing better, but late Friday afternoon, his family's attorney said the family’s medical bills are mounting.
“But at this point, the county is refusing to pay,” said attorney Muwali Davis.
Habersham County’s attorney provided the following statement, saying: "The question before the board was whether it is legally permitted to pay these expenses. After consideration of this question following advice of counsel, the board of commissioners has concluded that it would be in violation of the law for it to do so."
The attorney for Boo Boo’s family insists that is not good enough.
The Phonesavahs' attorney also says an independent investigation showed authorities used faulty information to get a search warrant.
In June, Habersham County's sheriff said a confidential informant told them he had bought drugs at the home. But they didn't think any children lived there.
The SWAT team did not find the person it was looking for in the home. An investigation is underway into the handling of the case. Meanwhile, Boo Boo and his family have moved back to Wisconsin. Supporters are planning a fundraiser for him in August.
Thank you for reading the Dayton Daily News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to exclusive deals and newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Dayton Daily News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.