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:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    View
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    View
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    View
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    View
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    View
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    View
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    View

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