LOS ANGELES (May 6, 2015) — U.S. Rep. Ted W. Lieu (CA-33), a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, is asking the Department of Justice to investigate possible civil rights abuses against Daniel Chong, a man who almost died while in the custody of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
Lieu wants the DOJ to look into possible lack of accountability by DEA agents. Chong was detained in 2012 by the DEA and held for five days without food or water before being released without charges. After an internal DEA investigation concluded in March, two agents received short suspensions and four agents received only reprimands.
“Leaving Mr. Chong locked in a room without food or water appears to have been a violation of his civil and constitutional rights,” Lieu said.
Four reprimands and two short suspensions does not amount to justice for Chong and his family, when according to the Los Angeles Times, Chong survived and avoided dehydration only by drinking his own urine, Lieu said.
“The current DOJ solution to this matter — a review of DEA internal disciplinary process — is simply not good enough,” Lieu said. “Mr. Chong almost died and had to undergo treatment for trauma caused by the abuse he suffered.”
Lieu said that a letter would be sent to the DOJ to formally request a full civil rights investigation into the apparent denial of Chong’s civil and constitutional rights by the DEA.
“Those who perpetrated this abuse must be held accountable and a message must be sent that these kinds of actions can not, must not happen again,” he added.
Lieu serves on the House Committees on the Budget and Oversight & Government Reform. He is also the Democratic Freshman Class President and a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force Reserves.