Playing Obscene War: On SWAT Teams and Baby Bou Bou
Last month, 19-month-old Bounkham Phonesavahn - aka Baby Bou Bou - was asleep in his crib in Atlanta, Georgia when a SWAT team, armed with assault rifles and acting on a "no-knock warrant," burst into the bedroom where he and his family were sleeping and threw a flash bang grenade into his crib, critically burning him and blowing a hole in his chest so deep it exposed his ribs. Police found no drugs, guns or suspects at the house, which they said they'd had under surveillance while evidently failing to notice that four kids lived, played and scattered their toys around there. They later arrested the nephew of Bou's father, who is Laotian, for allegedly buying $50 worth of drugs. In its new report "War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing" - which describes a failed War on Drugs employing "hyper-aggressive, wartime tools and tactics" that is often as much about race and class as drugs - the ACLU finds that Bou Bou's story is only slightly more awful than many other awful stories. Bou Bou remains in a medically induced coma. Doctors say he has a 50-50 chance of surviving. Updates here on what we have wrought.