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Lt. Dan Choi Found Guilty in DADT Protest

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Monday Apr 1, 2013
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A federal court found Dan Choi guilty of a criminal misdemeanor in federal court on Thursday. The openly gay former Army lieutenant, found himself in the media spotlight after he handcuffed himself to the White House fence in protest of the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, received a fine of $100, the Washington Post reports.

Choi, 32, faced up to six months in federal prison for protesting DATA at the White House on Nov. 15, 2010. The U.S. Park Police charged the West Point graduate and 12 other protesters with a criminal misdemeanor back in May 2011, they all pleaded guilty except Choi, who was the only defendant to plead not guilty.

Despite the nominal fine, Choi could still face jail time if he does not pay the fine in protest.

Many consider Choi a hero after he came out on "The Rachel Maddow Show" in 2009 during a time when being openly gay in the military was against the law. He was discharged from the military for violating DADT, which was repealed in 2011, and became one of the most prominent activists against the military policy, which President Barack Obama repealed a month after Choi was arrested.

In an open letter to Obama, Choi said that DADT is "a slap in the face to me. It is a slap in the face to my soldiers, peers and leaders who have demonstrated that an infantry unit can be professional enough to accept diversity, to accept capable leaders, to accept skilled soldiers."

According to The Washington Post, Choi’s "erratic demeanor swung from emotional outbursts to belligerent confrontations with a U.S. Park Police officer and the federal prosecutor." Choi was dressed in a military uniform and walked back and forth in the courtroom as he served as his own lawyer.

Choi was weeping as he pleaded, "All I want at the end of this day is to return to the U.S. Military." Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola warned Choi after he used a vulgar slang. "That may be appropriate in the barracks," Facciola said. "It’s not appropriate here."

Choi, who graduated from West Point with a degree in Arabic, served in the Iraq war as an infantry officer. In 2011, he was arrested in Moscow along with Russian gay activists when he participated in a gay pride parade that public officials had banned.

In Oct. 2010, Choi applied to rejoin the Army.

Comments

  • Anonymous, 2013-04-01 18:06:26

    It’s obvious this gentleman should not be reinstated. While he’s entitled to feel however he wants about DADT, the way he expresses that indicates he is too hot headed to effectively serve in a military environment.


  • Anonymous, 2013-04-02 01:36:59

    It’s called passion. Often times it clouds our judgement in taking the most sensible and logically beneficial approach to a problem. I don’t believe anything is obvious here except for the exaggerated description of his actions by


  • Anonymous, 2013-04-02 01:38:13

    the over zealous arresting officers.


  • Anonymous, 2013-04-03 17:37:37

    Not only should Lt. Choi be reinstated, this fine should be cancelled and he should be given a promotion. It is all well and good to say he should not have protested in the way he did, but the sad truth is that unless one takes a strong stand and acts on it, you get ignored. It may not be nice to chain oneself to the White House fence, but the nice ways always are ignored.


  • Anonymous, 2013-04-03 19:17:15

    This man was courageous for what he did. He fought for what he believed in. If you want your rights, you must fight for them. Sometimes you must pay the consequences. He knew exactly what he was getting himself into.


  • Anonymous, 2013-04-03 19:28:53

    The whole point being the military is no place for hot heads. In times of stress, we need people who can put aside their emotions and act rationally, something this gentleman seems incapable of doing.


  • Jonathan Willner, 2013-04-03 22:09:18

    I have spoken to Dan Choi about his actions against DADT. As an anti-military person, I don’t quite understand or agree with Dan’s position, but I have never met anyone with more decency and integrity. He is not a hot-head. He is focused, motivated and committed to the cause of LGBT equality. He has put his safety, sanity and freedom on the line for the benefit of us all. He embodies the values that the U.S. and the military claim, but often fail, to hold. And despite his militant public demeanor, privately he is sweet, friendly, easy-going and playful. I don’t always agree with Dan, but I have the utmost respect for him. We are lucky to have him fighting for us.


  • Anonymous, 2013-04-03 23:47:03

    While one may find Mr. Choi’s actions commendable, there is no place in our military for that. Perhaps his talents would be of more service in the fight for "equality" rather than the military. While I thank him for his service, I firmly stand behind the military in their denial of his re-enlistment.


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