The 17-month-old's mom said he suffers from pre-existing medical conditions, including pulmonary hypertension and an atrial septal defect
A 17-month-old Ohio boy was hospitalized after reportedly being injured by a flash-bang device during a police raid.
On Jan. 10, the Elyria Police Special Response Team entered a home after receiving a court-authorized search warrant for a previous resident allegedly associated with an "ongoing criminal investigation." The authorities deployed two flash-bang devices outside of the house, per the Elyria Police Department’s news release posted on Facebook that night.
The boy's mother, Courtney Price, says her son Waylon was hit by glass from a window broken by the devices. Price informed officers that Waylon had a pre-existing medical condition; he was born premature, has both pulmonary hypertension and a hole in his heart known as an atrial septal defect, and has a ventilator in his crib per NBC News. The two were in Elyria waiting for surgery to repair Waylon’s heart defect, reports Fox 8.
According to Elyria Police Department’s statement, Waylon was examined on site by detectives and paramedics. After the examination, Price was told her son “did not sustain any apparent, visible injuries." Authorities took the two to the hospital because Price did not have a car seat. After they were discharged from the hospital, Price said the next day that her son "quit breathing." Even with her adjustments to his ventilator, he made no improvements, so she called 911. Waylon was then taken to the hospital and transferred to UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, per NBC News.
"Then at Rainbow Babies, we were told that he needed six more liters of oxygen, his ventilator needed turned up ... he had chemical pneumonitis, which is inflammation of the lungs and irritation of the lungs, and he had a chemical reaction and in and around his eyes," Price told NBC News.
"The negligence from Elyria Police Department caused my baby to have burned eyes, burned chest, burned arm, burned neck," Price explained on a GoFundMe page launched to cover medical expenses.
"We moved up here for a fresh start. A lot of my family’s here, I just had a baby, and I’m a single mom," Price told NBC News. "My son has just worked so hard for his whole life to get where he’s at and extra trauma and these extra setbacks, there’s just no reason this should have happened."
The police stated in the news release that Waylon was not injured during the raid. “Any allegation suggesting the child was exposed to chemical agents, lack of medical attention or negligence is not true,” read the statement.
The Price family said they plan to take legal action against the police department.
According to the police statement, authorities were at "correct address of the search warrant." However, Price's aunt Redia Jennings -- who is renting the home where her niece and her son were staying -- told NBC the individual on the search warrant did not live there nor did they have any connection to him.
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On Tuesday evening, several bodycam videos were released by Elyria Mayor Kevin Brubaker that documented the officers during the raid. The footage shows the authorities waiting six seconds between the time they shouted at the occupants to "come to the door" and when they busted into the residence while deploying the flash-bangs.
Following the raid, Mayor Brubaker announced in a statement that his office had initiated an investigation and noted that “all information [will] be released to the public as soon as possible.”
After Mayor Brubaker’s initial statement, he shared on Tuesday that the bodycam footage “captured clear video and audio of the search warrant’s execution” and interactions with Price and Waylon. He added that he’s requested an external investigation to uncover the answers to the “questions of what led to the warrant itself.”
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