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Student to receive $4 million settlement for poor treatment

Attorneys for a 25 year old college student recently announced that their client will receive a $4.1 million settlement from the federal government after he was abandoned in a jail cell by Drug Enforcement Administration agents.

In April 2012, Daniel Chong arrived at a friend’s house for a party. While he was there, the DEA raided the home and discovered ecstasy and other drugs. A total of eight people, including Chong, were taken into custody. After questioning, authorities decided not to charge Chong with drug possession or any other crime. Nevertheless, he was placed in a cell for holding while his release was being processed.

Unfortunately, officers made some sort of error and forgot that they had placed Chong in the cell. He remained in the cell for just over four days without food or water. Conditions in the cell became so desperate that Chong was forced to drink his own urine. He even attempted to carve a goodbye note to his family in his own arm. 

Chong slid his shoelace under the cell door and began screaming in an attempt to get someone’s attention. Six people found him in the cell, covered in his own feces and in serious medical condition. He was hospitalized for five days after his ordeal.

After authorities discovered Chong, the DEA announced that it had implemented new national detention standards for all suspects, which include daily inspections by officers and the installation of cameras in cells. So far, no one in the DEA has faced discipline for the incident. The Justice Department’s investigation is ongoing. 

Source: Star Tribune, “US to pay $4 million to San Diego student abandoned in cell for 4 days without food, water,” Alicia A. Caldwell, July 30, 2013



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