US Soldiers Charged in Comrade's Death

Danny Chen appeared to have killed himself
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 21, 2011 11:51 AM CST
8 US Soldiers Charged in Death of Comrade Danny Chen
This undated file photo provided by the US Army shows Pvt. Danny Chen,19, who was killed Monday, Oct. 3, 2011 in Kandahar, Afghanistan.   (AP Photo/US Army)

Eight US soldiers have been charged in the death of Danny Chen, a 19-year-old private who appeared to have fatally shot himself Oct. 3 in a guard tower in Kandahar, the Washington Post reports. It’s unclear if the soldiers have been charged with actually killing him, or of driving him to commit suicide—one military official told his family in October that fellow soldiers had berated him with ethnic slurs and physically abused him. The charges leveled include dereliction of duty, making a false statement, assault, negligent homicide, and reckless endangerment.

In one incident, previously reported in the New York Times, fellow soldiers dragged Chen from his bed and across the floor after he neglected to turn off a water heater after a shower. Chen’s death and alleged mistreatment has angered Chinese-American activists, one of whom argues that even if the men didn’t pull the trigger, their actions “led to his death and they must be prosecuted for killing him." The soldiers have been transferred to another military base and relieved of duty; they'll likely be prosecuted in Afghanistan. (Read more Danny Chen stories.)

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