UC San Diego engineering student, 24-year-old Daniel Chong did not expect a night of partying with his friends to almost end his life. Chong was an innocent bystander of a drug raid who was taken into custody by Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), questioned, detained in a small holding cell, and forgotten for five-days.
Attorney Eugene Iredale, Chong’s attorney, claims holding his client hand-cuffed without food, water or a bathroom for four and a half days constitutes torture under international and domestic law.
Iredale responded to his client’s five-day ordeal with a five-page demand notice to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s general counsel in suburban Washington D.C. The response requests that all federal agencies preserve any evidence related to the case, including video, interview notes and written reports.
Iredale is seeking a 20 million dollar settlement in the law-suit. This whopping figure was assessed by Chong’s attorney because legally a claim needs to be made. Chong has nothing to do with the decision. 20 million dollars is the assessed ceiling amount.
Chong was at a friend’s house in University City on April 21st when a significant amount of ecstasy, mushrooms, and marijuana was seized by narcotics task force agents at the residence. Chong was found to be uninvolved with the drugs. Negligence on the part of jail administration to perform regular security checks left Chong resorting to drinking his own urine to stay alive. Chong became so dehydrated that his delusional state caused him to eat his broken glasses.
When Chong was finally discovered on April 25th, after his five-day night-mare incarceration, his condition was dire enough that he was immediately rushed to the hospital. It took him five-days to recover.
The DEA is refraining from answering questions about the case at this time because investigations are still underway. However, William R. Sherman, the special agent in charge the night Chong was arrested, made a public apology that was not addressed to Chong and did not mention his name.
“I am deeply troubled by the incident that occurred here last week. I extend my deepest apologies to the young man and want to express that this event is not indicative of the high standards that I hold my employees to. I have personally ordered an extensive review of our policies and procedures.”
Readers are questioning whether Chong deserves 20 million dollars for being mistakenly locked-up when others are locked-up for decades or even on death-row for crimes they did not commit. Some readers believe Chong should be reimbursed every penny because he received cruel and unusual punishment and almost died.
What is your opinion? Do you think Chong has a right to a 20 million dollar settlement?