CAPAC Chair and Chair Emeritus Express Outrage at the Recommended Dropping of the Most Serious Charge in the Pvt. Danny Chen Case

Jan 26, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Following the Army’s recommendation to drop involuntary manslaughter charges against one of the soldiers held in the death of Private Danny Chen’s, Representative Chu (CA-32), Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) released the following statement:

"I am outraged that involuntary manslaughter charges have been recommended to be dropped against Specialist Ryan Offutt.  This raises grave questions about how seriously the Army is taking this case.  If individuals who haze and harass their fellow soldiers to the point of suicide are not held accountable, than how is the Army deterring this incredibly harmful behavior?”

Representative Honda (CA-15), CAPAC Chair Emeritus added:

"In light of the recommendation that the charges against Army Specialist Ryan Offutt be reduced from involuntary manslaughter to negligent homicide, I reiterate my expectation – in the strongest possible terms – that the U.S. Army will do everything in its power to ascertain the truth in this tragedy and to take the urgent steps necessary to ensure that such a tragedy never happens again.  Justice must be served in the death of Danny Chen to ensure – going forward – that all our brave service members are protected on and off the battlefield as they carry out their mission to defend the Constitution and citizens of the United States.”

Representatives Chu and Honda have taken an active role in pushing for justice for Private Danny Chen, who took his own life after allegedly enduring daily racially based hazing and physical abuse by members of his platoon.

On January 19, 2012, the two legislators joined 11 of their Congressional colleagues in sending a letter to the House Armed Services Committee and House Oversight and Government Reform Committees requesting a hearing on the military’s hazing and harassment prevention polities.  They followed that with a letter on January 23, 2012, with two other Congressional leaders calling on the Army to provide a comprehensive review on how the department tracks its hazing and harassment incidents and implements anti-hazing training.

“This is a setback for justice for Private Chen, his family, and everyone who has been involved with this case,” said Congresswoman Chu.  “I find it truly appalling."

 

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The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) is comprised of Members of Congress of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and members who have a strong dedication to promoting the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Currently Chaired by Congresswoman Judy Chu, CAPAC has been addressing the needs of the AAPI community in all areas of American life since it was founded in 1994.