Talk about a black eye on the red, white, and blue. A college student from the University of California, San Diego, claims he was hauled into custody by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) last month, only to be abandoned in a cell for five straight days without food or water. Daniel Chong claims things got so bad he drank his own urine to survive.
And to make matters worse, Chong was never even charged with a crime! Can things look any worse for the feds' war on drugs?
Well, yes, they can! At least if anything this 24-year-old engineering student claims holds any weight, the agents involved should be sitting their sorry butts in a jail cell pretty darn soon.
Chong is claiming he was brought into the DEA's offices because he was hanging at a friend's house on 4/20 day while his pals celebrated the holiday by smoking some weed. Of course he's not telling us whether partook, but he says he was told he could go home. Only somehow, he was led into a jail cell instead, where he spent the next five days trying to stay alive.
The story gets wilder and wilder when he starts talking about a white powder he found in there (later identified as meth ... IN a cell??), and confesses he broke the glass out of his eyeglasses and tried to use it to kill himself.
It sounds so over-the-top awful that I wanted to believe it was all a hoax from some guy trying to make big money off the government. Cops are human. They can screw up. But this ranks up there in the nightmare realm. It's like a case of police brutality, only instead of beating the person, it was the conditions they put him through that took the toll on Chong's body.
There's no excuse for that. When you wear the uniform, and they give you the gun, you have a responsibility to take care of the lives you are charged with overseeing. Same goes for doctors, teachers ... anyone who is overseeing human life. If they can't handle one person, how can they handle the so-called war on drugs?
Sadly, Chong's story is looking pretty legit right now. A bigwig in the DEA actually told the media he's troubled by the story and extends his "deepest apologies" to the California man. Sorry, bud, it's going to take a lot more than that to make this right. Chong is suing, but it sounds like criminal charges need to be filed pronto.
What would you do if you'd been in Chong's shoes?