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Community Leaders Call For Justice Ahead Of First Court Martial In Pvt. Danny Chen’s Death

Army Private Danny Chen (credit: Handout/CBS 2)

Army Private Danny Chen (credit: Handout/CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Chinese-Americans in New York are decrying the suicide of a 19-year-old soldier who allegedly was hazed because of his ethnicity.

Community leaders and relatives held a press conference Monday in Manhattan ahead of  the court martial for Sgt. Adam Holcomb of Youngstown, Ohio, which starts Tuesday at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

WCBS 880′s Jim Smith reports


Pvt. Danny Chen, of Chinatown, shot himself on Oct. 3, 2011 in Afghanistan after weeks of racial slurs, humiliation and physical abuse by his colleagues, military officials said.

“We want justice for Pvt. Danny Chen,” said Elizabeth OuYang, president of the New York chapter of the Organization of Chinese Americans. “The chain of command failed Pvt. Danny Chen, but our justice system cannot.”

OuYang said fellow soldiers called Chen “Jackie Chen,” dragged him across the floor and threw stones at him, among other things.

Holcomb is one of eight soldiers charged in connection with Chen’s death. He faces nearly 18 years in prison if convicted of all charges.

The charges range from dereliction of duty to assault, negligent homicide and involuntary manslaughter.

According to the Army, the other soldiers charged are 1st Lt. Daniel J. Schwartz, Staff Sgt. Blaine G. Dugas, Staff Sgt. Andrew J. Van Bockel, Sgt. Jeffrey T. Hurst, Spc. Thomas P. Curtis, Spc. Ryan J. Offutt and Sgt. Travis F. Carden.

Chen’s parents left for North Carolina on Sunday.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)