The U.S. federal government has awarded a San Diego college student a multi-million settlement because of negligence by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
In 2012, 25-year old Daniel Chong was taken into custody after a drug raid at a friend’s house. Chong was then detained and taken into custody where he was placed in a 5-by-10-foot cell and left for over 4 days. The officer who placed Chong in the cell at the time said “Hang tight, we’ll come get you in a minute.”
Chong was held for four days by the DEA in a windowless cell and wasn’t given food or water. The neglect was so severe, Chong had no choice but to drink his own urine in order to stay hydrated. Chong also reported that he “hallucinated that agents were trying to poison him . . . and tried to carve a farewell message to his mother in his arm,” fearing that he would die under the DEA’s custody.
Chong’s hallucinations began on the third day, when he resorted to consuming his own urine. He broke his eyeglasses in his teeth to produce the shards of glasses that he would use to carve a goodbye message to his mother. When he was finally found on the fourth day, was covered in feces and had sustained severe injuries.
Along with losing about 15 pounds, Chong had to be “hospitalized for five days for dehydration, kidney failure, cramps, and a perforated esophagus.” Because of the incident, the DEA has instituted a new set of detention standards. These new standards will require detaining officers to check on those being held daily and for the cells to have cameras.
After the incident, the DEA made a “rare public apology” for its gross negligence and inhumane behavior. Other than that, they have remained fairly quiet about the incident, but Sen. Charles Grassley (R) of the Judiciary Committee has been pressing the DEA to speak further.