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Right Hooks

DEA Agents Nearly Kill a Man, Receive Reprimands

Nate Jackson · May 6, 2015

UC San Diego student Daniel Chong was arrested by the Drug Enforcement Administration for smoking pot. No big deal, right? Well, National Review’s David French relates the ensuing horrifying details: “Chong was accidentally left in a small holding cell for five full days without food or water. He screamed. He kicked the doors. He survived in part by drinking his own urine. He began to lose his mind and even contemplated suicide. When he was finally discovered, he was apparently suffering from kidney failure and rushed to the hospital.” He later won a $4.1 million settlement (paid for by taxpayers), but the DEA agents (unnamed in news reports) received nothing more than a slap on the wrist. Well, four written reprimands, rounded out with a one-day suspension and a seven-day suspension to be exact. Chong was cruelly and unusually punished for lighting up a plant, while the offending DEA agents can resume business as usual. It might be a stretch to say that’s typical of the federal government, though it’s hard to argue that these agents didn’t enjoy some serious circling of the wagons on their behalf. One would hope that accountability means more than what happened in this case.

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