An Injured Baby Recovers from SWAT Team Ambush, Strangers Raise Thousands for Recovery
byKaitlin StanfordJul 01, 2014
Mom of four Alecia Phonesavanh has been living in a nightmare since last month, when a SWAT team raided her sister-in-law's Atlanta, Ga., apartment and put her 19-month-old son Bounkham in critical condition.
As she would later write in a heartbreaking essay for Salon, the tragedy was all part of a terrible mistake. The SWAT team had been in search of drugs — apparently just a small amount — that they believed had been brought into the home by one of her nephews. But in the end, there were no drugs. And the nephew in question wasn't even home at the time.
Apparently, though, that was learned a bit too late by SWAT team members, who tossed a flash bang grenade into one of the rooms before noticing that Phonesavanh's sleeping toddler, known as "Bou Bou" was sleeping soundly.
The grenade hit the crib, and the subsequent blast left the boy with a deep wound in his chest and brain damage that doctors aren't even fully able to assess yet. For nearly a month, they have been monitoring him closely, and only recently woke him up from a medically induced coma.
The story is almost too terrible to hear, let alone live through. Especially when you learn that the family of five had only been staying in the Atlanta home temporarily, after their Wisconsin home burned down. And as Phonesavanh tries to remain positive, making it through each day by raising awareness about police brutality, she has also had to reach out to strangers for financial help to aid her son's recovery.
So far, though, the outpouring of support has been nothing short of amazing. The family's GoFundMe page has raised over $37,000 so far — but they still need much more to reach their goal of $100,000. With the little boy's medical costs mounting, the family hopes the generosity of strangers will help alleviate the financial burden.
Still, Phonesavanh doesn't want people to forget the root cause of the family's anguish — the often overlooked issue of unnecessary police force.
"This is happening every day, to people [who are] being relentlessly and unnecessarily militarized by police," she said on HuffPost Live recently. "[They] just think because they're supposed to be upholding the law, they are above the law themselves."
If you would like to donate to the Phonesavanh's GoFundMe page, you can do so here.
Image courtesy of Alecia Phonesavanh via Salon.com