NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The family of a young Army private from Manhattan are learning disturbing details in his death investigation.
Private Danny Chen’s parents say their 19-year-old son was allegedly bullied to death by fellow soldiers in Afghanistan.
Chen’s mother and father spent part of Thursday listening to Organization of Chinese Americans President Elizabeth OuYang recite details of alleged abuses Army investigators told the family about in a private meeting Wednesday at Fort Hamilton, in Brooklyn.
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They were told about the alleged bullying that may have pushed their son, Pvt. Danny Chen, to suicide at his post in Afghanistan.
“He had bruises and cuts all over his back,” OuYang said.
The family said Army generals told them those wounds came after a sergeant dragged Chen across 50 meters of gravel. The Army said that on the day of his death, Chen was made to crawl across that gravel again, wearing full gear in the heat.
“While some of the suspects threw rocks at him,” OuYang added.
The Army told the family a platoon sergeant and platoon leader knew about stones being thrown at Chen but did nothing about it. They were also charged.
About a half hour after the incident, there was a gunshot. Chen’s body was found in the guard tower, his rifle next to him. The Army told the family this came after nearly two months of constant abuse. An Army spokeswoman would only confirm the meeting with the family, but did not provide details.
But the Army has charged eight members of Chen’s platoon, with counts that include negligent homicide. Richard Meadow, one of the attorneys hired by the family, was in the room with the Army and said he was impressed by the report from a three star general and two colonels.
“I expected isolated incidents of abuse. And what the Army reported to us was repeated abuse over a six-week period,” Meadow said.
The Army said if this case goes to trial it will be from the base in which the soldiers were dispatched. The Army said that will be in Alaska. The family would like it closer to home, like Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn.
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