A former Habersham County sheriff’s deputy has been charged for her part in a botched no-knock warrant at a Cornelia, Georgia, home last year that left a toddler critically injured when a flash bang grenade blew up next to his crib.
Nikki Autry was indicted on four counts of civil rights violations after she allegedly provided false evidence to a judge in order to obtain search and arrest warrants.
“Without her false statements, there was no probable cause to search the premises for drugs or to make the arrest,” said Acting U.S. Attorney John Horn. “And in this case, the consequences of the unlawful search were tragic.”
Before the warrant was issued, a methamphetamine purchase with an informant’s roommate allegedly occurred outside of the residence, although there was no police surveillance to verify the purchase. Autry falsely claimed a reliable informant made the purchase, although records indicate the informant had a prior history of not relaying reliable information.
The early-morning raid was then conducted on May 27, 2014, about two hours after the warrant had been issued, but unbeknown to the officers, the then 18-month-old child and his family had been lawful residents at the home for about six weeks. The no-knock raid and subsequent use of the flash bang left the toddler, who was placed in a medically induced coma after the blast, with massive injuries and severe facial scarring.