Man Forgotten In Windowless Cell Awarded $4 Million

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A young man whom the Drug Enforcement Administration left in a windowless holding cell without water or food for several days settled a lawsuit against the Justice Department on Tuesday for more than $4 million. Audie Cornish spoke to the man, whose name is Daniel Chong, in May 2012.


Four point one million dollars, that's how much money is coming to Daniel Chong. It's part of a settlement with the Drug Enforcement Administration, which put him through quite an ordeal last year in San Diego. As the college student told us in an interview last year, he was taken into custody after a drug raid, questioned, told he wasn't a suspect but handcuffed.

DANIEL CHONG: They placed me into the holding cell. I asked them, why am I still being put in the holding cell. They said, don't worry, you're going to be released, this is just policy. We're going to come get you in a minute and they closed that cell door.

CORNISH: Four days later, he was discovered in that windowless cell, forgotten. Chong spoke about what happened in those four days, saying, I didn't stay sane.

CHONG: Eventually I - I was hallucinating by the second or third night. I even at one point begged them to urinate through the crack of the door, just for me to drink.

CORNISH: Daniel Chong had gone without food, water or personal contact. He lost 15 pounds in those four days and was hospitalized for dehydration and kidney failure. Now, not only has he won more than $4 million, his lawyer says the DEA has placed surveillance cameras in each cell in its San Diego facility to prevent similar nightmares.



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