Monday, May 14, 2012

Student abandoned in cell for 5 days by DEA gets apology but wants $20 million

Student abandoned in cell for 5 days by DEA gets apology but wants $20 million:

Mark blogged yesterday about Daniel Chong, a 23-year-old college student in San Diego who was detained by the Drug Enforcement Administration on "420 day" without charges, then abandoned in a holding cell for 5 days with no food or water. He drank his own urine in an effort to stave off fatal dehydration.
Today, he received an apology from the DEA. The Associated Press reports that "San Diego Acting Special Agent-In-Charge William R. Sherman said in a statement that he was troubled by the treatment of Daniel Chong and extended his 'deepest apologies' to him."



Chong's attorney says that's not enough. They intend to sue for $20 million. From the Los Angeles Times:



Chong, the agency said, was "accidentally left in one of the cells." He told NBC San Diego he kicked the door "many, many times" in a futile attempt to get agents' attention.

When they finally found Chong, he was taken to Sharp Memorial Hospital, where he spent five days. Iredale said Chong, who was close to kidney failure and had trouble breathing, spent three of those days in the intensive-care unit.

Chong also suffered hallucinations and "thought he was going insane," Iredale said. Chong told NBC San Diego he tried to kill himself by breaking his glasses and cutting his wrists.

"I didn't care if I died," he told the station. "I was completely insane."


Regarding the hallucinations, Reuters reports that they were anime-themed at times. His lawyer says he "had Japanese cartoon characters telling him where to find water."

More coverage at the San Diego Union-Tribune, and the local San Diego NBC affiliate, and the local Fox News affiliate. There's a cellphone video of a press conference with Chong from yesterday, but the audio isn't great.

(Photo: Daniel Chong. Credit: K.C. Alfred / San Diego Union-Tribune)




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