Joey Terrell’s Irresponsible Behavior
The Habersham County SWAT Team is why every community should not have a SWAT team. We know that when little boys grow up to be cops they want to be on a paramilitary style force so they can play with big boy toys, but they need proper supervision when they go out and play with other people’s lives.
A SWAT team, and their leadership, should be well-trained and populated with mature adults who take responsibility for their actions. The Habersham County SWAT team does not fall into this category. Nor does Haberham County Sheriff Joey Terrell, who supposedly is their leader.
In May 2014, the Habersham County SWAT Team stormed into the home of the Phonesavanh family while carrying out a no-knock raid. The SWAT-ers forced their way into the house and Habersham County Sheriff’s Deputy Charles Long tossed a flash-bang grenade into the crib of Bou-Bou Phonesavanh, a 19-month-old child.
The explosion caused massive injuries to the toddler. The infant suffered severe burns and had to be taken to the hospital and placed in a medically induced coma.
Sheriff Denies Responsibilities
The Sheriff’s Department denied any responsibility for injuries to the child and fought tooth and nail to avoid damages.
They even claimed that Bou-Bou, by sleeping in a room about to be breached by Sheriff Joey Terrell’s SWAT team constituted “criminal” conduct on the part of the infant.
At the very least, the infant was fully liable for the nearly fatal injuries inflicted on him when Habersham County Sheriff’s Deputy Charles Long blindly heaved a flash-bang grenade – a destructive device that when detonated burns at 2,000-3,500 degrees Fahrenheit – into the crib.
Merely by being in that room, Bou-Bou had assumed the risk of coming under attack by a SWAT team. By impeding the trajectory of that grenade, rather than fleeing from his crib, Bou-Bou failed to “avoid the consequences” of that attack.
So that means that any of us, anywhere, are assuming the risk of coming under attack by a SWAT team doing whatever we are doing.
One Last Trick
And as a last-ditch effort to avoid paying the bill, the sheriff’s department invoked the principle of “laches,” which in the legal world, is a kind of use it or lose it statement.
It basically means that you don’t have the right to sue, if you waited a long period of time in the hopes that future circumstances would favor your case. It doesn’t apply in this case at all because the family almost immediately filed a notice with the court after the incident.
Eventually the Phonesavanhs were awarded $964,000 in a settlement reached with Habersham’s Board of County Commissioners last year after a grand jury declined to bring any criminal charges, which prompted a federal review.
They still have civil suits pending against other counties in the multi-agency task force that conducted the raid.
Sheriff Joey Terrell’s SWAT team invaded the home in Cornelia, Georgia on the basis of a bogus anonymous tip that a $50 drug transaction had occurred. This tip was provided by Habersham deputy sheriff Nikki Autry and was an outright fabrication. A total lie, actually.
Habersham Deputy Sheriff Nikki Autry, who worked with Mountain Judicial Circuit Narcotics Criminal and Suppression Team, was indicted on four counts of criminal civil rights violations, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“Without her false statements, there was no probable cause to search the premises for drugs or to make the arrest,” acting U.S. Attorney John Horn said Wednesday. “And in this case, the consequences of the unlawful search were tragic.”
Yup, she lied to get a no-knock warrant. But that’s not the first-time law officers lied to get search warrants.
Autry was accused of using an unreliable informant who purchased a small amount of methamphetamine, though not at the residence where the raid was conducted.
The indictment alleges that Autry had not confirmed there was heavy traffic in and out of the residence, as stated in a warrant application supplied to a magistrate judge.
Based on that information, a “no-knock” search warrant for the residence and an arrest warrant for Wanis Thonetheva, who allegedly sold the methamphetamine, was obtained.
Autry was forced to resign. What motivated her to allegedly lie remains unclear. Maybe she had a hair up her ass against those people?
Lawyers for the sheriff and the other officers denied that “false and misleading information was used in the search warrant application” even after a Habersham grand jury found that to be the case.
Nikki Autry not guilty on all three counts of violating the civil rights of Bounkham “Bou-Bou” Phonesavanh, his parents and siblings.
Hurried and Sloppy
“I’m just happy everyone sees the truth,” said Autry, 29, who was forced to resign after a Habersham grand jury called her work “hurried and sloppy.”
Yoo, Autry, truth is, everyone knew before the trial started that you would be found not guilty. That’s the way justice works in America when cops are put on trial for criminal activities. That is the only truth to be seen from this verdict.
Bou-Bou’s mother, Alecia Phonesavanh, said she now believes race played a major role in the dispensation of investigations and subsequent trial.
“I was the only person untouched in that house when they raided it. Why? Because I’m white,” she said. “Why did we get a not guilty verdict? Because (Autry) is white.
This no-knock raid is the perfect example why SWAT teams need to be populated with mature, properly trained officers under adult supervision. Sheriff Joey Terrell’s SWAT team failed in both counts.
No charges were filed against Habersham County Sheriff’s Deputy Charles Long who threw the flash-bang grenade into the baby crib.
Read more from our sources: