Man Gets $4 Million from the DEA After Being Locked Up for Days Without Water

The Justice Department has a settled a lawsuit with a California college student who nearly died in a Drug Enforcement Administration holding cell after being held nearly five days, handcuffed, without food or water. Daniel Chong will get $4.1 million in the settlement agreement, even though no criminal charges have been filed against the agents and no one has been disciplined for the mistake that almost killed him. 

The 23-year-old Chong was scooped up in a DEA raid last April and taken to a detainment facility along with several others who were accused of distributing ecstasy. After answering agents' questions, it was decided that he wouldn't be formally arrested or charged with a crime, but agents placed him in a 5-by-10-foot holding cell with his hands cuffed behind his back and told him they would return in a few minutes to release him. For reasons no one seems able to explain, it was more than four-and-a-half days before anybody came back to check on Chong, by which time he was severely dehydrated, hallucinating, incoherent, and suicidal. 

The details of Chong's ordeal are so horrifying that even $4 million hardly seems like just compensation. The cell did not have a toilet or sink and he was forced to drink his own urine to try and stay alive. On the fourth day, he broke his own eyeglasses with his teeth (swallowing some of the shards) and used them to try and carve a goodbye note into his own arm. His kidneys failed after so much time without water, he lost 15 pounds, and he was hospitalized for a week with dehydration and a perforated esophagus. He spent the final two days of captivity in total darkness and still suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Read more on The Atlantic Wire

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.