By Paul Bisceglio
Sgt. Adam Holcomb was tried this week in connection with the death of Pvt. Danny Chen last October. He faces up to two years in prison. Council Member Margaret Chin and Speaker Christine Quinn, however, think he deserves more.
Chin and Quinn sent a letter yesterday to Lt. General Daniel B. Allyn, the convening authority who will decide the case’s final verdict, that asked him to impose an “appropriately serious punishment” on the Sergeant for condoning and participating in the physical and verbal abuse of the 19-year-old Manhattan native while on deployment in Afghanistan. Chen endured six weeks of the intense racially-charged hazing, then shot himself while alone in a guard tower.
Holcomb is the first of eight soldiers on trial for the abuse. The military jury convicted him on two counts of maltreatment and one count of assault consummated by battery, though they acquitted him on charges of negligent homicide, reckless endangerment, communicating a threat and hazing.
Chin and Quinn called the punishment “too lenient,” and argued that it “would send the wrong message to the nation’s armed forces and to our country as a whole: that the United States Military tolerates this condemnable conduct.”
Holcomb’s dishonorable discharge, they said, is the only appropriate response:
“We are asking you to impose a more meaningful punishment that makes clear that the Military will not tolerate racism, bigotry, or bias. . . . The removal of Sgt. Holcomb from the Army is necessary to honor the service of Private Chen, to appropriately condemn the treatment of Private Chen, and to ensure those who serve in the Military that they should expect to treat and be treated with respect and dignity.”
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