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Margaret Chin to Introduce Measure Criticizing Army on Danny Chen's Death

By Julie Shapiro | January 4, 2012 6:51am

CHINATOWN — The Department of Defense should improve its diversity training in response to the suspected bullying death of Pvt. Danny Chen, City Councilwoman Margaret Chin wrote in a Council resolution she plans to introduce Wednesday.

Chin's resolution, co-sponsored by Council Speaker Christine Quinn and others, calls on the Department of Defense to examine its cultural diversity policy and do more to prevent harassment of military personnel.

"We cannot allow any more of our soldiers to go through this," Chin told DNAinfo Tuesday.

"[Better protections for minority soldiers] would be helpful not only to the Chinese-American community, but to lots of people."

Chen, 19, who grew up in Chinatown and the East Village, was found dead of an apparently self-inflicted gun wound in Afghanistan's Kandahar Province on Oct. 3, military investigators said.

Eight U.S. soldiers have been charged in connection with Chen's death, with charges ranging from negligent homicide and assault to making false statements. Some of the soldiers allegedly threw rocks at Chen and taunted him with racial insults, his family said.

Chin decided to write a City Council resolution as a way of putting additional pressure on the Defense Department to make reforms in response to the teenage soldier's death.

She and other Chinatown community leaders traveled to the Pentagon in December to meet with Army officials and are still waiting to hear back on potential policy changes, Chin said.

After Chin introduces the resolution Wednesday, it will be referred to a committee for a hearing and then will come to a vote. Chin hopes to see the resolution pass within the next month.

Other Council co-sponsors include Mathieu Eugene, chairman of the Veterans Committee, and Deborah Rose, chairwoman of the Civil Rights Committee.

In response to Chen's death, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand called on the Defense Department to review racially motivated hazing incidents and provide a complete accounting of how the incidents were handled.

Gillibrand's office has requested a briefing but has not yet received one, a spokeswoman said Tuesday.