DEA agents ignored handcuffed man for 5 days: no water, no food


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Where does the “Who pays the $4.1 million? Not the DEA” come from? According to the linked article, the only mention says it “cost the agency a $4.1 million settlement.”

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i think the point was … taxpayers.


It will hit their budget, but they’ll just seize some more houses/cars from innocent people to make up for it. Not one dime will come out of the paychecks or pension funds of the jackasses who let this happen.


These several will pay for their mistake, sort of. We’ll likely never know exactly how, because it’s a “personnel issue” as soon as any disciplinary action is taken. But there’s no way in hell they’re going to take $4.1 million out of their pay.

Likewise, the DEA as a whole isn’t going to have to tighten it’s belt in any way. That $4.1 million is simply going to be another line in next year’s multi-billion dollar budget, the whole of which is funded by taxpayers.

EDIT: To put it in perspective, this is about 0.2% of the DEA budget. For the mean annual household income in the US, this would be about equivalent to a $100 fine.


Everyone who walked by that cell and ignored his cries should be given the same 5-day vacation and quick weight-loss diet.

No matter how appalling the atrocity, no matter what branch of government or law enforcement, no one is ever held accountable.


[quote=“randywalters, post:6, topic:36677, full:true”]
Everyone who walked by that cell and ignored his cries should be given the same 5-day vacation and quick weight-loss diet.[/quote]
Giving multiple people (i.e., “everyone”) responsibility is what causes these sorts of problems and is the reason why “no one is ever held accountable”.

The better solution is to make one person responsible. Since that person knows that he/she can’t rely on someone else to take care of a problem (and are therefore personally accountable), problems such as this are less likely to occur.

A similar situation occurred with the British Columbia Ferry Corporation. At one time, there were 3-5 people responsible for ensuring that vehicles did not try to load a ferry after it had pulled away from the terminal. While this seemed a good idea, in practice it meant that each one of those people could assume that one of the others was taking care of the problem. Eventually this led to an accident and the death of several people. A review recognized this, and procedures were changed so that only a single person was responsible.


Yep, that was part of it. Unfortunately one person has to be handed responsibility/liability. That’s actually the idea behind why middle managers get paid more. They’re responsible for everything done under their watch.

If you read the full article you’ll find out that:

“The inspector general faulted three case agents — one a DEA employee and two assigned to an agency task force — and one supervisor who were responsible for Chong’s safety. It said the supervisor exercised poor judgment and violated DEA policy by assigning two of the agents to process evidence from the cell after Chong was found.”

So, in this case, among all the other faults (and there were several), the supervisor on hand also failed to keep watch over the people being supervised. The boss didn’t know what the employees were doing. It wasn’t just a case of similarly-leveled employees all failing at cross-checking their task.


So we figure out who was most responsible and put them in the cell. Also, the head of the DEA, whoever that is, gets put in for five days too - so that “management” gets a little taste as well.

Sure, it’s cruel and unusual, but so is the DEA (also FBI, NSA, and all those types).

Responsibility costs money.

It’s cheaper to average out the liability.

That’s how economics works on these scales.

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All law enforcement should be required to carry liability insurance, not “self insurance” which is really taxpayer insurance.

Wouldn’t it be better to hear “I wish I could help you club that kid, but insurance regulations won’t allow it”.

Not exactly the same as facing criminal charges like they should. Whoever was in charge of that facility should be facing the brunt for allowing a system nearly guaranteed to cause this sort of nearly-lethal injury.

And yet it’s so infrequently the middle managers who actually get the consequences when real consequences happen. It’s always some intern or entry level clerk. I don’t think the pay goes to middle managers to pre-compensate them for consequences they fail to prevent.

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When multiple employees fail, like in this case, then there’s a clear link to management. People allowing management to not be held accountable is not okay, and as far the liability goes — it’s frequently a part of the job title. For example, “Supervisor” as in," this person supervises all these others, and is responsible for them." Because supervisors’ duties frequently include training, they hold the liability of ensuring that the employees are trained correctly, and doing their jobs right.

I agree that’s how it should be in principle (at least when you have a vertical hierarchy) but in practice, it really doesn’t seem to be the case.

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“For the love of God, Montresor!”

‘let’ this happen? It’s not like being handcuffed to a wall in view of people for days is the likely, inevitable, or natural course of things.

Unless the DEA are just another torturous organized crime syndicate… then that word makes total sense.

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I’m sure this was their first arrest. Who has standard operating proceedures for detaining people and removing weapons and drugs from their person… certainly not the DEA! That would be crazytalk. That would be like the Navy having ships.

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I believe ‘‘In God We Trust’’ fits the bill.

The weird thing about this incident is realizing that my company has better systems in place to track 5 year old laptops than the DEA apparently had to track people they arrested.

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The supervisor’s poor judgment there was in assigning two DEA agents involved in leaving Chong in the cell the job of investigating how he got left in the cell and what happened to him while he was there. That’s not a supervisor not knowing what employees are doing, but a supervisor who knows very well what his employees are going to do.

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