ATLANTA—Alecia Phonesavanh, said words can’t describe what it feels like to see her son, whom family members call “Bou Bou,” laugh and walk again.
“We are more than happy to have our son back so we can all be together as a family. He has so much energy and he is motivation for all of us. He’s our angel,” said Phonesavanh, who fought back tears. “My son still can’t go to sleep. He’s too scared. He only gets about five minutes at a time. He stays up all night. Every night, we are reminded of this. As we change the gauze on his chest about three times a day to avoid infection, it’s so upsetting to know that he had to go through this in the first place.”
The 20-month-old baby was critically injured on May 28 when Habersham County law enforcement authorities tossed a flashbang grenade inside the home where the family was staying during a “no knock” raid. The person authorities believed was at the house was not there. The grenade landed and detonated in the baby’s playpen. The Phonesavanh family was visiting relatives because their home in Wisconsin was burned in a fire.
On Wednesday, the community held a send-off celebration for Bou or “Bou Bou” Phonesavanh during a breakfast held at Delightful Eatz Restaurant in Atlanta. People showered Bou Bou and his family with gifts and money.
“Look at this family. This is a family that loves each other. This is not a family of drug users or dealers. They are the victims of a overzealous police force,” said radio personality Derick Bozeman, who hosted a live broadcast from the Atlanta restaurant. “We must continue to fight for justice for this family. We celebrate today the mercies of God as seen by this baby boy who doesn’t yet realize the severity of his wounds. We will continue to help this family and do everything we can to help them transition back to Wisconsin.”
“Bou Bou” suffered brain injury, has a damaged chest, face disfiguration, and lost his left nipple. The damage has left a hole in the boy’s chest the size of your palm, according to father, Bounkham Phonesavanh.
“Bou Bou” was released from Children’s Hospital at Scottish Rite on July 1 after being treated for severe burns. He will continue the rehabilitation process in Wisconsin.
The attorney for the family, Mawuli Mel Davis of the Davis Bozeman Law Firm, says that police descended upon the residence in search of drugs they believed were in the possession of a nephew they believed was living in the home. No drugs or the nephew were found in the home.
The Phonesavanh family says that “Bou Bou” has more surgeries to go and he is on a long road to recovery. Atlanta surgeons have repaired the boy’s lung so he no longer needs a ventilator and patched and re-attached his nose, Attorney Davis said.
The family has set up a website at http://www.justiceandprayersforboubou.org. Family members say they will post recovery information and pictures on the website.