Part of Elizabeth Street is Co-Named “Danny Chen Way”

City Council Co-Names Section of Elizabeth Street “Private Danny Chen Way”

The City Council has voted to co-name of section of Elizabeth Street in memory of Army Private Danny Chen.

Army Sergeant Not Guilty of Most Serious Charges in Death of Danny Chen

Private Danny Chen.

An Army sergeant was found not guilty yesterday of the most serious charges in connection with last year’s death of Private Danny Chen.   Adam Holcomb was the first of eight soldiers to face court martial in North Carolina. A military jury found Holcomb guilty of two counts of “maltreatment” and one count of assault.  But he was found not guilty of negligent homicide, reckless endangerment, communicating a threat and hazing.

Chen, a Chinatown native, committed suicide at an Army base in Afghanistan last October.  Community activists and Chen’s parents attended the trial.  Today sentencing deliberations get underway.  Holcomb faces up to two years in prison.  Last night, City Council member Margaret Chin, who was in North Carolina for part of the trial, released the following statement:

This decision is an affront to the Chen family and to servicemen and women across our country… Never before has the pervasiveness of hazing and bullying in our armed forces been so exposed. Sgt. Holcomb physically and verbally abused Private Chen. His campaign of abhorrent and racist behavior was unrelenting, and it caused Private Chen’s death. By failing to uphold the most serious charges in this case, the military has effectively condoned Sgt. Holcomb’s conduct… This case has gained national attention and our calls for justice will not end… The military must enforce their zero-tolerance policy for bullying and hazing. This culture of abuse is unacceptable.

Trials For Soldiers Accused in Danny Chen Case To Be Held in North Carolina

Private Danny Chen.

Earlier today the Pentagon announced it would move the military trials for eight soldiers accused in connection with the death of Private Danny Chen to Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.  Elected officials and community activists have urged the Army to hold the trials on U.S. soil, so Chen’s family can attend.

Chen, a Chinatown native, was found dead at an American military base in Afghanistan last fall, after apparently shooting himself in the head. An Army investigator has recommended courts martial for the soldiers. It is up to high-ranking military officers to make the final call. Previously there were indications the trials would be held in Afghanistan.

This afternoon, City Councilmember Margaret Chin applauded the decision, saying “we have demanded that the Army hold these trials on U.S. soil because that is the only way to ensure transparency and accountability in this case. I am confident that the charges against these eight individuals will be referred to trial and that Private Chen’s family will finally get to face those responsible for the death of their only son.”

Military officials have said Chen was taunted and physically abused by fellow soldiers.