The Washington Post reports the drug transaction that nearly led to the death of toddler Bou Bou Phonesavanh was for $50 worth of meth.

In May, we reported on probably one of the most horrific cases of police misconduct of 2013.

In Habersham County, Georgia, a SWAT team reportedly wrongly invaded a home with a “no knock” warrant, nearly killing a 19-month-old baby boy named Bou Bou, and left the family with over $1 million in medical bills.

Just this week, new details have emerged and we’ve come to find out that this child was allegedly maimed in the name of a fifty-dollar drug sale that never happened.

As insane as that may be, all officers involved in the raid were initially cleared of any wrongdoing.

A grand jury, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the sheriff himself, the DA all looked into this case and determined that as unfortunate as the outcome was, the Habersham County Sheriff’s Department had every right to invade the house. They then went as far as to blame the parents for the child’s injuries, because hey, if you didn't live in a drug-dealing home, you wouldn't be subjecting your child to random SWAT raids.

Well, the family reportedly didn’t deal drugs and they received national attention after the county refused to pay any of their son's medical expenses for the injuries he sustained from the flash grenade that was thrown on his pillow at the time of the raid.

Then the Federal government stepped in and reviewed the case. After a lengthy investigation, they uncovered one hell of a big conspiracy at the Habersham County Sheriff’s Department.

Deputy Sheriff Nikki Autry -- the lead “investigator” -- reportedly lied about literally everything to get that no-knock warrant.

Just this week, the feds indicted Deputy Autry. 

Here’s a timeline of events that proceeded the raid that went horribly wrong as reported by The Washington Post:

  • Deputy Nikki Autry swore under oath that a known confidential informant (who had been reliable in the past) purchased a small amount of methamphetamine from an individual standing outside a residence.
  • Based on this information, the judge issued a “no-knock” warrant to enter the residence and arrest this individual.
  • At 2:30 AM, SWAT officers performed a paramilitary-style SWAT raid on the home, where residents included four children under the age of eight.

According to The Washington Post, here’s what the Federal investigation uncovered:

  • There was no confidential informant. This person did not exist.
  • Deputy Nikki Autry lied under oath to the judge to get the “no knock” warrant.
  • No one else at the Sheriff’s Department investigated or did any actual surveillance of the home to insure her imaginary informant’s claims were correct.
  • The entire raid was based on a series of lies, initially told by Deputy Autry, then covered up by the Sheriff’s Department.
  • The individual Deputy Autry claimed was selling drugs? He was arrested at another residence, without a SWAT team, and without any incident.

Acting U.S. Attorney John Horn said in a release that Deputy Autry’s false statements were the only probable cause the officers had “to search the premises for drugs or to make the arrests.”

“In this case,” he said, “the consequences of the unlawful search were tragic.”

According to the Federal indictment, Autry is charged with four counts of civil rights violations for “willfully depriving the occupants of the residence of their right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.”

The Washington Post reports the drug transaction that nearly led to the death of toddler Bou Bou Phonesavanh was for $50 worth of meth.

The Phonesavanh family sued Habersham County and settled. In the settlement terms, they received $1 million.

The Phonesavanhs will receive $964,000, with the remaining $36,000 going to the owner of the house for damages during the raid, according to NowHabersham. (The family was new to the neighborhood; they had just moved in six weeks earlier after their house had burnt down.)

But will the family really see justice?  Deputy Autry did step down from her position and she is now being indicted, but an indictment only contains charges. The government still has to prove she is guilty of four counts of civil rights violations.

In the meantime, I highly doubt Habersham County’s sheriff will step down. I highly doubt law enforcement agencies will stop investigating themselves to find themselves innocent.

The federal justice system pulled through for the American people in this particular instance, but they also allow law enforcement agencies to seize our houses, cars, cash, or other property without ever charging us with a drug crime. 

Find out how Civil Asset Forfeiture is in essence, legalized theft:

Personally, I fear our chances of seeing another baby Bou Bou on the news increases every day as we continue in the asinine War on Drugs.

-Jen Hobbs, Off The Grid Team

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC its affiliates, or its employees.

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