No one expects to go to a college party and wind up in a DEA holding cell for 4 days. Daniel Chong, a 25 year old college student is filing suit after being taken into custody during a drug raid at a friend’s house in April of 2012. He was taken into custody, but informed no charges against him would be pursued, and to “hang tight”, the officers would be back to get him in a few minutes. The doors to this cell did not open again for four days, and Daniel had no access to any food or water during this time period. When agents finally discovered Daniel still in this holding cell, he was suffering from hallucinations, dehydration, kidney failure, and a perforated esophagus; for which he needed to be hospitalized for five days.
Previously the DEA did not have a policy regarding national detention standards. Now, because of this incident, daily cell checks along with cameras in every cell are now a requirement for all DEA detention centers in the country. Daniel states that he heard people outside his cell, and would scream for help but it seemed that no one heard him. The DEA also issued a public apology from the special agent in charge of the San Diego Division. U.S. Senator Charles Grassley is still pushing for the DEA to explain how this incident could have happened, and to discipline the responsible parties.
Daniel Chong is set to receive a $4.1 million settlement as a result of the suffering he experienced during this DEA ordeal. Will this large amount of money make up for an incident that forced Daniel to do unthinkable things for the sake of survival, and the absolute trauma that must continue to haunt him? Daniel is currently being treated for extreme Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, by a psychologist who works mainly with veterans coming back from war. It has been over one year since Daniel was imprisoned, and no one has been disciplined or named responsible for Daniel’s misfortune. Will anyone ever be held accountable for their actions that almost caused a young man to meet his death, or will a payout of $4 million dollars allow the DEA to drag their feet a little longer.