Ex-deputy charged in Habersham raid that injured toddler

Badly burned face of "Bou Bou"
Badly burned face of “Bou Bou”

Last year, the entire world was shocked to see the images of a badly burned toddler. A flash-bang grenade was tossed during the execution of the search warrant into the side door of the residence, and landed directly in the room where 18-month-old Bounkham Phonesavanh, affectionately known as “Bou Bou”, was sleeping.

Nikki Autry, the special agent who was part of the Mountain Judicial Circuit Criminal Investigation and Suppression Team (NCIS), has now been indicted by a Federal grand jury for falsifying information on the search warrant and arrest warrant that lead to the raid. Had the agent not lied, “Bou Bou” and his family would never have suffered such a tragic fate.

The press release from the US Attorney General’s Office, Northern District of Georgia, states:

Flash bang Damage To Bou Bou's Crib
Flash bang Damage To The Crib

“Eventually, a brand new NCIS informant and two of his associates – his wife and a roommate – went to a residence located in Cornelia, Georgia. The informant’s roommate, who was not officially working with NCIS, approached the residence and allegedly purchased a small quantity of methamphetamine from an individual unknown to him who was standing outside the residence. There was no police surveillance to verify the purchase. Shortly afterwards, Autry presented an affidavit to a Habersham County magistrate judge falsely swearing that the NCIS informant made the purchase and that the NCIS informant was “a true and reliable informant who has provided information in the past that has led to criminal charges on individuals selling narcotics in Habersham County.”

The federal indictment alleges that Autry knew the NCIS informant had not purchased any methamphetamine from anyone at the residence and the NCIS informant had not proven himself to be reliable in the past. Additionally, the indictment alleges that Autry had not confirmed that there was heavy traffic in and out of the residence.  Based on this false information, the magistrate judge issued a “no-knock” search warrant for the residence and an arrest warrant for W. T., who allegedly sold the methamphetamine.  The warrant obtained by Autry was executed approximately two hours later, during the early morning hours of May 28, 2014.”

Bou Bou UpdateAutry has been 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 by an officer.

Since the incident, Bou Bou has underwent reconstruction surgery to help with function and appearance. However, Bou Bou still suffers physical and emotional damage from the illegal actions of a corrupt agent. The family was also left with over $1 million dollars in medical bills.