Just in case you aren’t already convinced that the “war on drugs” is the biggest waste of time, energy, and money imaginable, perhaps the following tragic tale will push you over the edge. This story touches on several very important themes that I highlight quite often on this site. Specifically, it demonstrates the dangers of the militarization of the U.S. police force, combined with the increased use of SWAT raids on homes of Americans who in many cases have committed non-violent offenses and victimless “crimes.”
One of the most shocking statistics I have come across in this regard is the fact that there are now 50,000 SWAT raids happening annually in America. Many of these are in response to minor “crimes,” if you can even call them that, and provide the police with the opportunity to play warrior cop. Earlier this year, I highlighted the disturbing video of a SWAT raid in Iowa in which the cops were going after credit card fraud. Last year, I highlighted a SWAT raid against an organic farm in Texas. Is this Afghanistan, or a supposedly free country?
This brings us to the latest indefensible action by police playing solider. This time the incident took place in Georgia, and the victim was a 19-month-old toddler named Bou Bou. The terrible crime that the officers were cracking down on was the dealing of methamphetamine, and the proper response was apparently a SWAT team raid. Not only did the police not even bother to ensure that the suspect was in the house at the time (he wasn’t), but they also threw a flash bang grenade into the young boy’s playpen. At last check, he was in an induced coma in critical condition.
From CBS News:
ATLANTA – Parents of a 19-month-old boy said their child has a 50 percent chance of surviving after he was critically injured when a police “flash bang” device was tossed into his bed during a raid, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. A northeast Georgia sheriff called the incident a tragic accident.
Early Wednesday morning, officers arrived at a Habersham County, Ga., home to arrest 30-year-old Wanis Thometheva after receiving a tip from a confidential informant that he had bought methamphetamine from the suspect, according to the paper.
For this “tip” a young boy might die.
Terrell said officers had no indication that any children were inside the home as they approached the same door where the drugs had allegedly been purchased. Police reportedly opened the door and threw a distraction device, often referred to as a flash bang, inside. “It distracts [the suspects] so you can make an entrance,” Terrell told the paper.
Apparently, they didn’t have much “indication” of anything, as the suspect wasn’t even there.
However, the Journal-Constitution reports the device landed in the playpen where a toddler, Bounkham “Bou Bou” Phonesavanhs, was sleeping. The 19-month-old and his family, three older sisters and his parents, were all asleep in the same room. Only the toddler was injured.
“[The device] blew open his face and his chest,” the boy’s mother, Alecia Phonesavanh, told the paper outside Grady Memorial Hospital, where the child is now in a medically induced coma. “Everybody was asleep. It’s not like anyone was trying to fight.” The family said they were visiting Georgia after a fire burned down their Wisconsin home. It is unclear who they were staying with.
The paper reports Thometheva was not at the home at the time of the raid but was later arrested at another house on a felony drug charge of distribution of meth.
The family says it will be weeks before they know if Bou Bou will survive, and, if so, what treatment he will need. They have no place to live in the meantime. The family is upset but hopeful that Bou Bou will make a full recovery.
Two simple takeaways: End the militarization of police. Immediately.
End the war on drugs. Immediately.
Full article here.