UPDATE (8/17/12) – Links to event photos, taken 8/11/12.
Speakers included community leaders, family member, a number of NY City Councilpersons, and the City Comptroller:
The following link, to Asian American Art Centre, includes photos from a mid-July rally, in addition to last week’s:
JUSTICE FOR PVT. DANNY CHEN RALLY
Bayard and Mulberry Sts.
2pm Saturday, August 11, 2012
Earlier this month, a jury of military personnel found Sgt. Adam Holcomb not guilty of the most serious charges stemming from the alleged suicide of Pvt. Danny Chen, an Asian American soldier in the U.S. Army who was driven to his death by three months of continuous mental and physical abuse and racist taunts from fellow soldiers and superior officers in Afghanistan.
Holcomb was found not guilty of negligent homicide, and guilty of “one count of assault and two counts of maltreatment of a subordinate.” The court martial panel was given the discretion to charge “anything from no punishment up to the maximum, a dishonorable discharge, two years confinement and total forfeitures” but only delivered a sentence of 30-day confinement, $1,811.55 fine, and a reduction in rank.
An African American infantryman claimed that he too was subject to racist abuse by Holcomb. “He told me he would kill me, put me in a body bag and send me home,” testified Pvt. Marcus Merritt. He said the abuse he received from Holcomb before Chen arrived caused him to think seriously about committing suicide.
Seven more trials are scheduled to start soon to further probe the environment that permitted such treatment.
OCA-NY (Organization of Chinese Americans) has called for a public rally on Saturday, August 11 at 2 PM at Columbus Park in Lower Manhattan’s Chinatown. Asian American Arts Centre will be a co-sponsor, along with other diverse community organizations.
The rally will protest the verdict and sentencing of the first of Danny’s superiors who was put on trial.
Links to more information about the case of Pvt. Danny Chen
Democracy Now: “First Soldier Tried in Hazing Death of Pvt. Danny Chen Gets 30-Day Term, Evades Homicide Conviction,” 8/1/12
AMY GOODMAN: Julia, what were you most struck by as you watched this court-martial?
JULIA CHUNG: I think what I was most struck by was the lack of awareness about Asian-American issues that the—even the defense attorneys had and the lower-ranking PFCs had, because when the witness was on testimony, one of the witnesses said, “Oh, ‘gook,’ that’s a common term for Asian Americans.“
Free Speech Radio News: “Death of Chinese American Private Chen Caused by Racist Hazing,” January, 2012
A second soldier, Ryan J. Offutt, was sentenced today: six months in prison and discharged from the military for misconduct after pleading guilty to maltreatment and violating an order against hazing, part of a plea bargain that dropped more serious charges of reckless endangerment and negligent homicide.