A 25-year-old college student who has reached a $4.1 million settlement with the US government after he was abandoned in a windowless cell for more than four days without food or water, has described his ordeal.
Daniel Chong said he drank his own urine to stay alive, hallucinated that agents were trying to poison him with gases through the vents, and tried to carve a farewell message to his mother in his arm.
Chong was taken into custody during a drug raid and placed in the cell in April 2012 by a police officer authorised to perform Drug Enforcement Administration work. The officer told Chong he would not be charged and said, “‘Hang tight, we’ll come get you in a minute,'” Mr Iredale said.
The door to the five-by-10-foot cell did not reopen for four-and-a-half days.
Justice Department spokeswoman Allison Price confirmed the settlement was reached for $4.1 million but declined to answer other questions. The DEA didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
“I didn’t just sit there quietly. I was kicking the door yelling. I even put some shoestrings, shoelaces through the crack of the door for visual signs. I didn’t stay still, no, I was screaming,” said Mr Chong.
It remained unclear how the situation occurred, and no one has been disciplined, said Eugene Iredale, an attorney for Chong, The Justice Department’s inspector general is investigating.
“We hope that at some point there can be at least the individual attribution of responsibility for what happened and some kind of appropriate administrative sanction if nothing more than to rebuke the suggestion that when you put someone in a holding cell without food or water, you should let them out before five days at best,” said Mr Iredale.
Mr Chong, now an economics student at the University of California, San Diego, said he planned to buy his parents a house.
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