FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. Contact: Elizabeth OuYang, (718) 650-1960
Facing charges of negligent homicide, Specialist Ryan J. Offutt plead guilty to hazing and maltreatment at a court martial before the Trial Judge, Col. Michael Hargis at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Specialist Offut was also charged with calling Private Danny Chen racially derogatory names like “chink”, “gook”, “fortune cookie”, “slants”, “egg roll”, “Jackie Chen”, “dragon lady”, “squint eye”, and “Jap”. He faced charges of maltreatment for kicking Danny in the chest, throwing rocks and water bottles at him, and grabbing by his vest and dragging him.
The Trial Judge sentenced him to six months confinement, discharge from the Army for bad misconduct, and reduction in rank to E1.
“Judge Hargis’ sentence sends a strong signal to superiors that they will be disciplined, including discharged from the Army if they engage in hazing and racial maltreatment. The judge’s sentence recognized there is no place in the Army for a convicted soldier, especially a superior, who has been convicted of racial maltreatment and hazing. Hazing and racial maltreatment that drives a soldier to his death warrants this strong sentence”, stated Elizabeth OuYang, president of OCA-NY, the lead advocacy organization advocating for justice for Private Danny Chen.
The contingency from New York attending the trial includes Danny’s parents, aunt, uncle, and four cousins; Jing Mei Huang, danny’s middle-school classmate; Elizabeth OuYang, OCA-NY president and OCA-NY members Christina Lo- school teacher, Arvin Chin-doctor, Mackenzie Yang-voting rights intern, and Julia Chung-hate crimes prevention art project coordinator; Alan Shing Chan-electrician; Liang Guo-technology analyst; Xiao Min Zhao-policy associate and constituent service liaison for Councilwoman Margaret Chin; Taylor Clark-Starbucks barista; Crystal Chen-Wheaton College; and Hye Mee Na and Mansee Kong, independent film makers. Members of the Fayetteville Chinese Association and Asian Americans for Progress-North Carolina chapter also attended the trial.
On October 3, 2011, Pvt. Danny Chen was found dead with a bullet to his head after being hazed and being subjected to racial slurs by his superiors. Eight soldiers have been charged in connection with his death. The jury at the first military court martial, US v. Holcomb, only found the defendant guilty of maltreatment and assault and battery. He was sentenced to only 30 days confinement, one level reduction of rank, and a $1,181.55 fine. Is this justice?
Where: Columbus Park, Chinatown
(At the corner Bayard and Mulberry)
When: 2:00PM, August 11, 2012
OCA New York Chapter, with co-sponsors: Chinatown Partnership, Chinese Progressive Association, MinKwon Center for Community Action, Asian American Arts Centre, Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, Asian Americans for Equality, Councilmember Margaret Chin (list in formation)
Last October, Private Danny Chen was found dead in a guard tower in Afghanistan, allegedly from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Although admitting that Pvt. Chen was subject to daily physical abuse and race-based hazing by his superior officers and comrades, the military initially provided little information about its investigation to the grieving Chen family. This changed only after Organization of Chinese Americans-NY Chapter (OCA-NY) spearheaded a tremendous organizing and advocacy campaign to bring justice to Pvt. Chen and his family. Eight soldiers are now facing charges ranging from dereliction of duty to involuntary manslaughter in connection with his death.
On Wednesday, February 15, KAPA will host a speaker series event featuring OCA-NY President Liz OuYang and Board member Esther Choi. They will speak about the history of this case, the likelihood that those responsible for Pvt. Chen’s death will be brought to justice, civil rights issues and lessons learned for the Asian American community, and next steps.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Arnold & Porter LLP
399 Park Avenue (between 53rd & 54th Streets)
SEATING IS LIMITED. RSVP BY FEBRUARY 13