Asian American Groups Extremely Disappointed Following Light Sentencing in Military Hazing Case

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 WASHINGTON—OCA, a national organization dedicated to advancing the political, social, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs), and the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC), a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, are extremely disappointed with the recent verdict and sentencing in the court-martial of U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Andrew Van Bockel, who faced charges related to his mistreatment of Pvt. Danny Chen. Chen, a 19-year-old Chinese American from Manhattan, died in Afghanistan in October 2011 of non-combat injuries following weeks of bullying and abuse by superiors in his unit.

Last week a military jury found Van Bockel guilty of hazing, three charges of dereliction of duty and two charges of maltreatment. Despite the potential maximum punishment of four years and nine months in prison and a dishonorable discharge, Van Bockel was only sentenced to a reprimand, a demotion in two ranks to Specialist and 60 days of hard labor—45 already credited—with no jail time, and he can continue serving in the Army.

“Our community is truly shocked and saddened by the lack of accountability that has emerged from this trial,” said Tom Hayashi, executive director of OCA. “The gross negligence of Staff Sgt. Van Bockel was simply unacceptable and the sentencing is a disgrace to our military’s values. This trial is a strong indication that we must push for stronger reforms in our advocacy efforts. Read more here.