Bloomington Herald-Times, April 10, 2015
To the Editor:
There was a factual error in the March 11, 2015 Herald-Times article (http://bit.ly/1HEAtjP) regarding a standoff with Bloomington police. The flash-bang grenade used by police, an explosive designed to produce a blinding flash of light and a deafening sound to disorient and confuse suspects, is NOT a “non-lethal” weapon. It should have been identified as a “less lethal” weapon, because flash-bang grenades can (and have) caused fatalities and serious injuries.
The most well-known case is the horrific burns suffered by 18-month-old Bounkham Phonesavanh, who was maimed last summer when a flash-bang grenade was tossed into his crib during a SWAT raid in Georgia. Tragically, a SWAT officer was killed by a “less lethal” flash-bang grenade in 2011. A woman in Minneapolis “suffered third- and fourth-degree burns” in 2010 when a flash-bang grenade exploded next to her legs.
For more resources on flash-bangs, see here: http://bit.ly/1bDENGg
Because of the dangerous nature of these explosives, it is imperative that we have a full accounting of the use of flash-bang grenades by local law enforcement. I call on both the Bloomington Police Department and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department to detail all use of flash-bang grenades and the justification for their deployment.