Military jury recommends 30 days for Danny Chen tormentor
Family and friends of a Lower East Side Army private who committed suicide in Afghanistan were outraged Tuesday after a military jury recommended one of his tormentors face only 30 days of confinement for assaulting his subordinate.
The jury at Fort Bragg jury also suggested Sgt. Adam Holcomb also have his rank reduced to specialist, and that he should give up $1,181.55 of his monthly pay.
On Monday, Holcomb, 30, was convicted of maltreatment and assault of Pvt. Danny Chen, but acquitted of more serious charges of negligent homicide and harassment.
Elizabeth OuYang, president of the New York chapter of the Organization of Chinese Americans, which had hoped Holcomb would face the maximum sentence of 2-1/2 years in prison and a dishonorable discharge, said it was "shocking" that he'll remain in the military.
"He's shown blatant disregard for human life. He's shown blatant disregard for Asian-Americans," OuYang said Tuesday morning after the decision was announced. "It sends the wrong message to our Asian-American soldiers that they will be protected from this type of misconduct."
Prosecutors accused Halcomb of calling Chen, 19, derogatory names including "dragon lady" and "egg roll" and of dragging Chen by his wrists out of bed and across gravel.
Chen killed himself while on guard duty in Afghanistan last October after weeks of hazing.
George Wright, an army spokesman at the Pentagon, said, "The Army respects the decision of the jury."
In a statement, Council member Margaret Chin called the decision "an outrage," and a "slap on the wrists."
"Today, the Army has failed in its duty to protect the servicemen and women who serve our country," said Chin. "To allow Sgt. Holcomb to remain a member of the armed forces is to condone racist and abusive behavior."
Under military rules, the jury's recommendation could either be accepted or reduced, but not increased.
Seven other soldiers also face charges in connection with Chen's death. The next trial is schedule to begin next month.