25-Year-Old Abandoned in DEA Cell Awarded $4.1 Million
July 31, 2013
You may have heard the horrific story of David Chong, a 25-year-old University of California San Diego student who, last year, was detained and then completely forgotten about for four terrible days. He just settled a lawsuit with the Justice Department for $4.1 million.
Here's what happened. Authorities raided a house Chong happened to be visiting in April of 2012. They found drugs and guns, and took everyone at the house down to the DEA station, but soon realized Chong had nothing to do with any of the illegal materials and said they'd let him go. And then, through a tragic series of miscommunication, left him in his 5-by-10 foot, windowless detainment cell for four days without food or water. Over the course of those days, Chong resorted to drinking his own urine to survive, and hallucinated. He eventually thought he was going to die, and tried to carve "Sorry, Mom" onto his arm with a piece of broken glass, but lacked the strength to get further than the "s."
It was the morning of April 25 that someone happened to open the cell and realized something had gone very wrong. Chong, who had lost 15 pounds, was rushed to the hospital and treated for dehydration, kidney failure, cramps and a perforated esophagus. The Justice Department says it has implemented new practices to make sure what happened to Chong won't happen again ...