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Charges dropped against Diné Guardsman

CHINLE

Charges against a Diné National Guardsman accused of using racist language during a scuffle between members of two platoons at Fort Benning, Georgia, have been dropped, according to the soldier’s father.

Courtesy photo | Brian Haskan
Pfc. Jason Haskan, Diné/Anglo, is being held at Fort Benning, Georgia after reporting an altercation between soldiers from his own and another platoon. A Black soldier is accusing Haskan of using racist language; Haskan denies it. Hassan’s father says he has been denied due process and the Army is trying to “chapter him out.”

Brian Haskan of Utah said his son, Pfc. Jason Haskan, has been cleared and will be allowed to remain in the Army. A white soldier charged alongside Haskan has also been cleared, he said, after base commanders concluded the investigation into the incident had been flawed, as the two defendants had alleged.

Jason had reported the fight to his superiors, naming the instigators, who had retaliated with charges that Jason and the white soldier had called a Black soldier a “monkey” and used the N-word. The two men maintained they had never used those words and had witnesses to back them up.

After the incident, which occurred Aug. 1, the two defendants said they were pulled out of Ranger training and confined to their quarters, and later assigned desk jobs where they could be monitored at all times. They had not been allowed to meet with attorneys, and were offered paperwork to sign that would “chapter them out” of the Army on unspecified “serious charges.”

Jason had showed his father documents that appeared to have been backdated and signed for him, Brian Haskan said; the other defendant, Spc. Thomas Boone, said four witness statements he had gathered on his behalf went missing.

Brian credited a Navajo Times story two weeks ago with the reversal. “After that, they had so many letters and so many calls,” he said. Jason even learned there was another Navajo soldier at the base who had gone to bat for him, according to Brian.

Jason isn’t sure if they’ll still let him go to Ranger school, Brian said, but he no longer thinks that’s his highest calling.

“He wants to be an Armed Forces attorney,” his father confided.


About The Author

Cindy Yurth

Cindy Yurth is the Tséyi' Bureau reporter, covering the Central Agency of the Navajo Nation. Her other beats include agriculture and Arizona state politics. She holds a bachelor’s degree in technical journalism from Colorado State University with a cognate in geology. She has been in the news business since 1980 and with the Navajo Times since 2005, and is the author of “Exploring the Navajo Nation Chapter by Chapter.” She can be reached at cyurth@navajotimes.com.

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