University of California-San Diego engineering student Daniel Chong will likely never smoke pot (real or synthetic) again. That’s the offense that landed him in trouble with the authorities in the first place, but it’s what the authorities did to him in jail that has people outraged. Daniel Chong was locked in a DEA holding cell without food, water, or toilets for 5 days, because the police forgot they had arrested him. Chong was one of 9 people arrested in a sweep of a suspected Ecstasy dealer’s home, though Chong says he was there only to smoke a little pot with some friends. The Drug Enforcement Agency is the force responsible for detaining Chong and conveniently forgetting about him; the agency will pay out $4.1 million as part of a settlement.
“I didn’t stay sane,” Chong told All Things Considered‘s Audie Cornish. “Eventually, by the second or third night … I went completely insane and was just trying to get a grip on reality, on what’s happening to me.”
Abandoned without basic necessities, Chong drank his own urine and reportedly begged DEA officers to relieve themselves under the door so he might drink their urine; he also spent two days in total darkness after someone turned the lights out in his room. He kicked and pounded on the door, and by the time someone realized he was locked away, he had lost 15 pounds and was nearing dead. Chong spent 3 days in the ICU and 5 total days in the hospital for dehydration, kidney failure, cramps, and a perforated esophagus; he now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, for obvious reasons.
I guess DEA agents didn’t understand his variation of English.
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