Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Baby burned by cops gets worse

The baby burned by a flash bang grenade in a 2:00 AM no knock raid raid by the Habersham County Sherrif's department is getting worse, and surgery has been postponed:
“We believe they were criminally negligent because of the children,” Mawuli Mel Davis said.“This isn’t police work. This is cowboys.”

Davis and others held a midday vigil for the child, Bounkham “Bou Bou” Phonesavanh, outside Grady Memorial Hospital Monday. Worsening health postponed surgery to repair the deep chest wound caused when a flash-bang grenade landed on thew child’s pillow in the play-pen where he was sleeping. He also suffered severe burns on his head and face.
Meanwhile, the Governor's office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation have gotten involved:
Gov. Nathan Deal said Monday he’s awaiting an investigation of the botched drug raid in Habersham County that left a child on life support to determine if any executive action or state legislation is needed.

“Any time you have bad facts like this one, it does give you cause for concern,” Deal said. “It’s one of those things that require a thorough investigation … to know what if anything we can learn from it.”

Habersham County District Attorney Brian Rickman said he is investigating whether any officers violated the law when they used a controversial “no-knock warrant” for a raid on on Cordelia house Wednesday.

A criminal finding would require officers to have acted recklessly or illegally but he said he expected the raid will prompt an investigation into no-knock warrants and tactics, Rickman said.
Translation: everyone in the area is fixin' to throw the Habersham County Sheriff under the bus.  Can't blame them, really; the baby has a 50/50 chance of surviving.

Meanwhile, the District Attorney categorically denied the Sheriff's earlier statement that the DA had said nothing untoward had happened:
I had a very interesting conversation with Mountain Circuit District Attorney Brian Rickman on today’s show, starting with his take on this statement from Sheriff Joey Terrell:
Terrell said both the district attorney and Georgia Bureau of Investigation have said there was no wrongdoing on the SRT’s part.

“I’ve talked to the D.A., I’ve talked to the GBI,” Terrell said. “I’ve given them the whole information and they say there’s nothing else we can do. There’s nothing to investigate, there’s nothing to look at. Given the information given, GBI’s SWAT team would have done the exact same thing – they’d have used the exact same scenario to enter the house.”
Uh…no. DA Rickman told me on the air today he never said anything like that to the sheriff. According to Rickman, he had a brief conversation with Terrell, had been given virtually none of the facts and was awaiting all the details before making any judgments. And he unequivocally denied ever giving the Habersham County cops a clean bill of health.
That last link is from talk radio host Michael Graham's blog, now in Atlanta* on News Radio 106.7 FM from 8:30 to Noon.  I listened to him in Boston, and he's very smart and very funny.  I'll tune in when I can, and program 106.7 into my car radio.  Graham asks some questions that need answers:
Say what you want about Barney Fife, but he never got anyone killed.

So what agency in Georgia is going to answer the REAL questions?
  1. Why a “no-knock” warrant on a low-rent meth dealer well-known to the cops?
  2. Why bust in at 2AM? What’s wrong with 2pm?
  3. Why throw incendiary devices into a home when the perp isn’t even there? Did the cops have ANY intelligence before acting?
  4. Why throw a flashbang into a bedroom? Into a crib? Did the cops not know a family was in the house? Did the cops have any ACCURATE intelligence before acting?
  5. Why was the “no-knock” warrant issued in the first place? What did the cops tell the judge? Or is the judge a “Let’s Roll!” type, too?
Once again, the goal isn’t to turn these cops into criminals. It’s to hold them accountable for their actions, policies and consequences.  Nobody needs to be prosecuted, but someone definitely needs to be fired.
The answer to all those questions is the same: because it's fun to dress up like Navy SEALs and form a stick.  Or maybe the Sheriff's department just read blogs.  But I disagree that nobody should go to jail.  Prison is designed not only as a punishment, but to set an example that will deter other fascist scum.

In this country we find it useful from time to time to hang an Admiral to encourage the others.

* Hat tip to Bob for pointing this out to me.


Ken said...

Once again, the goal isn’t to turn these cops into criminals.

No need. They did that all on their own.

Affiant saith not further.

Mike Brahier said...

If cops keep behaving like this because they are concerned with officer safety, pretty soon they will REALLY have a reason to be concerned with officer safety. Just sayin'...

Old NFO said...

Good points all, and somebody SHOULD go to jail for this. And the lawsuit is gonna be a BIG one!

newrebeluniv said...

It is a wrong argument that "there was a child present". It was a criminally negligent act that was certain to cause harm no matter who was in the building. If the police believed no one was in the building, then there was no reason to use any flash-bang.

There is no reason in the "war on drugs" to use these tactics. Just knock on the front door, present your warrant, go in and search.

B said...

See, the issue is that they forget that all the toys they get to use are weapons....firearm use outside of a range has consequences for most of us. SO does any explosive device (and yes, a flash bang is a GIANT firecracker).

They aren't toys. People forget that. And then suffer the consequences. Sometimes bystanders too.

Graybeard said...

I thought that enough people would start to protest the overuse of SWAT raids when they accidentally raided a small town Mayor's house and killed his dogs. Nobody cared.

Then I thought that enough people would start to protest after Jose Guerrena (?) in Arizona. How dangerous a drug dealer is a guy who's working the night shift to try to support his family? And then they deliberately let the guy bleed out so that they didn't have to answer too many annoying questions.

Then I thought that enough people would wake up when they used a SWAT Team for overdue student loans.

This one seems to have raised the concern to a new level. Maybe this one will lead states to start reigning in the overuse of militarized cops.

But I'm not betting on it.

Comrade Misfit said...

If he can redo it, he ought to use real cops for the left side. Like these guys.