It’s Time to Demand Accountability

“We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.”   – Ronald Reagan

From Fox News today:

Student left in DEA cell to get $4 million from feds

SAN DIEGO –  A 25-year old college student has reached a $4.1 million settlement with the federal government after he was abandoned in a windowless Drug Enforcement Administration cell for more than four days without food or water, his attorneys said Tuesday.

The DEA introduced national detention standards as a result of the ordeal involving Daniel Chong, including daily inspections and a requirement for cameras in cells, said Julia Yoo, one of his lawyers.

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.

It remained unclear how the situation occurred, and no one has been disciplined, said Eugene Iredale, another attorney for Chong. The Justice Department’s inspector general is investigating.

“It sounded like it was an accident — a really, really bad, horrible accident,” Chong said.

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The story above has prompted me to write the following letter to my senator:

Dear Senator Cruz,

I am writing in regards to the federal government’s recent $4.1 million settlement with a San Diego man who was placed in a holding cell and left to languish for 4 ½ days without food or water because the DEA agent who placed him there forgot about him.  As a result of this agent’s negligence and lax procedures at the DEA taxpayers will also be footing the bill to equip cells in federal detention centers around the nation with cameras.   What angers me is that at the time of the settlement, more than two years after the incident, it was reported that no disciplinary action had been taken upon anyone at the DEA.  I find that both astonishing and dangerous.  Where else can you work that your actions can lead to a man being hospitalized for five days and cost your employer millions of dollars but you get to remain on the job with no punishment whatsoever? 

I’m tired of seeing my tax dollars funding a lottery system for people with the misfortune or good luck, depending on how you look at it, to become the victims of government ineptitude while there is zero accountability on those whose mistakes we are perpetually paying for.  The agent who locked this man up and forgot him should have been fired the day this error was discovered.  His supervisors should be fired now for failing in their duties to impose any accountability. 

I understand that you are a very busy man, what with trying to uphold the constitution of this nation almost single-handedly; but as my representative in the Senate I urge you to use whatever power is at your disposal to help return the concept of accountability to this government, starting with those in the DEA who are responsible for this costly and inexcusable mistake.



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