CRIME
08/20/2014 03:04 pm ET Updated Aug 20, 2014

County Won't Pay Medical Expenses For Toddler Hit With Police Grenade

The parents of a toddler who was severely injured when a SWAT team's grenade exploded in his face may be on the hook for all of his medical expenses.

WSBTV reports that Habersham County, Georgia will not pick up the tab for the more than $500,000 worth of medical treatment Bounkham Phonesavanh received after he was injured during a botched drug raid in May.

"It leaves me heartbroken to know that they really don’t have any compassion or remorse for what they’ve done to my family," Phonesavanh's mom, Alecia, told The Huffington Post. "I read all these articles about how bad they feel and how traumatized they are, but I don’t see it. I don’t see it in their words or their actions at all."

A SWAT officer threw a flash grenade that landed in the toddler's crib, badly burning him. The blast left holes in Phonesavanh's face and tore away at his chest, exposing his ribs.

He was put into a medically induced coma for days and, at one point, had only a 50 percent chance of survival, his family said.

Authorities said that they previously purchased drugs from the house and that there was no evidence to indicate a child would be present. The suspect, wanted on federal drug charges, was not there.

The American Civil Liberties Union has challenged the assertion that there was no sign a child could be present, saying that there were toys in the front lawn.

Phonesavanh said there were no drugs found in the house and that it was "not a drug house."

Now, the county says it's not legally allowed to pay the child's medical bills.

"The question before the board was whether it is legally permitted to pay these expenses," the county said in a statement sent to the station. "After consideration of this question following advice of counsel, the board of commissioners has concluded that it would be in violation of the law for it to do so."

The family's lawyers told WSBTV that they will have to sue for damages and Phonesavanh told HuffPost she still has hope.

"We will not give up this fight," she said. "We will win this fight for justice."

The family is hosting a fundraiser this Saturday at the VFW hall in Janesville, Wisconsin and has set up a site for donations.

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