Former deputy pleads not guilty in flash bang case

When members of a special narcotics squad peeled off to hit this Habersham County home just after midnight last year, they thought their target was a heavily-armed drug compound.

Then deputies heard a baby's frantic cries. Their reaction is captured on a sheriff's department dash cam.

"There's a baby in there. Yep. You don't believe a baby got hurt, do ya? I don't know. He said Code 3. Sounds pretty..."

Code 3 -- get an ambulance here fast. The flash bang canister from the no-knock search warrant landed in the playpen of 18-month old Bou Bou Phonesavanh, badly burning his face and body. No gunmen or drugs were found.

Only one person is facing criminal charges for that terrible night -- former Habersham County deputy Nikki Autry.

"We are all still devastated by the charges and we're confident that once a jury hears the evidence that they're going to reach the very same conclusion that the Habersham County Grand Jury reached in 2014 that no crime was committed and Nikki Autry should not have been charged with any crime," said defense attorney Jeff Brickman outside the Federal Courthouse in Gainesville.

Autry was arraigned on four counts of violating the civil rights of the drug dealer she was trying to arrest, and the innocent family members inside the house. She pled not guilty.

Autry admits she wasn't clear in her sworn statement to get the search warrant that it was her confidential informant's roommate who actually bought drugs from the suspect, not the CI himself.

In her interview with GBI and FBI investigators last year, Autry denied trying to pull a fast one on the judge who signed the warrant.

"It wasn't intentional at all. It was an oversight. I wasn't thinking," she says on the recording, obtained by the FOX 5 I-Team.

She told investigators the judge would have signed the warrant anyway, even though the informant's roommate was not authorized to work undercover for the narcotics unit.

Still, she relied on those informants to let them know if children might be in the home.

"I said were there any signs of children there?" she told investigators on the video. "And they said nothing but a minivan. When you pull up you're not worried about a minivan. You're worried about these people over here who you think have assault rifles."

Her attorney says his client hates what happened to the toddler.

"Well, everybody's very upset about the way it all turned out," said Brickman. "It's horrible what happened to Bou Bou Phonesavanh. There's no question about that and there's never been any attempt to hide around that at all. But not here about that. We're here because Nikki Autry is charged with a crime she didn't commit."

Nikki Autry remains free on her own recognizance. She long ago gave up her POST certification, meaning she'll never work in law enforcement again.