Two years ago, I highlighted the case of Daniel Chong, a California student who was thrown in a holding cell and forgotten about for 5 days without food or water. His situation became so desperate, he was forced to drink his own urine in order to survive. The post was titled, Student Forgotten in California Jail Cell by the DEA for 5 Days Without Food or Water. Here’s an excerpt:
While a cash payout should be part of any sort of justice for Daniel, I wonder if any of the individuals responsible for this will be held accountable? That to me is the key point. Just as bankers simply pay a fine for egregious crimes that represent only a small part of their profit from the activity (but almost never face criminal charges), so too it seems the police and government bureaucrats almost never face serious repercussions for any their actions, no matter how heinous or unconstitutional.
Well wonder no more. The jury is out, and all the DEA agents involved received a slap on the wrist. A few days of suspension without pay, but nobody fired. From the LA Times:
Federal agents responsible for leaving a 23-year-old UC San Diego engineering student in a holding cell for five days without food or water received only reprimands or short suspensions from the Drug Enforcement Administration, according to the Justice Department.
Daniel Chong was swept up in a 2012 DEA raid on his friends’ house, where he had gone to smoke marijuana. After an interrogation, he was told he would be released.
But the agents responsible forgot about him, according to a Department of Justice Office of Inspector General report last summer, leaving him to drink his own urine to stave off dehydration.
The Inspector General Report said that three DEA agents and a supervisor bore primary responsibility for Chong’s mistreatment and that the DEA San Diego Field Division lacked procedures to keep track of detainees. They were not named in the report.
The Department of Justice letter said that DEA officials forwarded a report on the incident to a disciplinary board, the Board of Professional Conduct, without conducting its own investigation. The board issued four reprimands to DEA agents and a suspension without pay for five days to another. The supervisor in charge at the time was given a seven-day suspension.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. If you have a criminal mind and lack ethics, yet aren’t sharp enough to be a TBTF banker, the best place to look for employment is within a Federal agency. You can pretty much engage in unlimited criminality without any repercussions. The DEA and TSA may provide particularly good opportunities for unbridled shadiness. Recall:
Apparently it’s impossible to be fired from the DEA.