A yr after 20-year-old U.S. Military Spc. Vanessa Guillen was reported lacking from Fort Hood in Texas, her household appealed to President Biden on Thursday to make good on his marketing campaign guarantees by becoming a member of of their combat to finish sexual violence within the army and backing a newly launched invoice named for the slain soldier.
Natalie Khawam, an lawyer representing the household, contrasted how Guillen’s case and that of George Floyd had been dealt with after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted this week for the homicide and manslaughter of Floyd final Could.
“Our nation stands as we speak begging for Congress, the Division of Protection to vary what’s occurred… The place are we a yr in the past as we speak?” the lawyer requested. “This week there was a call with George Floyd’s case. The trial’s over. The household acquired a $27 million settlement. Everybody says to me, ‘How a lot did this household obtain?’… They acquired nothing.”
Khawam spoke throughout a press convention on the U.S. Navy Memorial Thursday at what she mentioned investigators came upon to be the precise time one yr in the past that Vanessa Guillen was bludgeoned to loss of life inside an armory room on the base by one other enlisted soldier, Spc. Aaron Robinson. He fatally shot himself on July 1, 2020 in close by Killeen, Texas, as authorities had been closing in on him to carry him into custody.
“She was in a field,” Khawam mentioned. “Her physique was folded like a serviette.”
There nonetheless isn’t any trial date set for Cecily Aguilar, who was Robinson’s girlfriend and has been charged as an confederate to Guillen’s homicide for allegedly serving to to eliminate her physique, the lawyer mentioned. Guillen’s physique was dismembered, burned and discarded by a river.
“All these victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault… they get nothing as a result of once you serve in our Military, our army you’re not entitled to any compensation for wrongful loss of life,” Khawam mentioned. “What number of occasions do I’ve to say, these younger women and men signal as much as take a bullet for us, for our nation, for our freedom, our security, however they’re not afraid of a bullet — They’re not afraid to die for our nation. However they’re afraid to report sexual harassment.”
In contrast to former President Donald Trump, President Biden has not met with the Guillen household. Trump held a gathering with the household on the White Home final July and backed the primary “I Am Vanessa Guillen” invoice launched to Congress in September.
“I need to name out President Biden. He despatched out an announcement final yr – you may look it up — whereas he was in election that ‘we owe it to the households of people that placed on the uniform each day for us we should finish this epidemic of sexual violence within the army,’” Vanessa’s sister, Lupe Guillen, mentioned Thursday. “Effectively, months later we’re attempting to satisfy with you, we’re attempting to get your help for this laws – the ‘I Am Vanessa Guillen Act,’” she continued, addressing the president. “As a result of for those who actually care, as a result of I do know you had a son within the armed forces, and you know the way it feels to lose a son, like my father misplaced her daughter, I ask you to please help us on this combat for justice.”
Khawam mentioned Guillen’s household met with U.S. Reps. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., and Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., who help what she says is a “bi-partisan” invoice.
The invoice was launched final September however was by no means voted on earlier than the tip of that session of Congress. It’s anticipated to be re-introduced on Thursday and goals to create an impartial system the place members of the armed forces can safely report sexual misconduct circumstances with out worry of retaliation by transferring prosecution selections out of the chain of command.
Khawam mentioned she requested that the household be allowed to satisfy with Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Biden, on Wednesday however had been instructed each had been unavailable.
“We’re asking that folks begin changing into out there. Be out there for this household. Be accountable,” Khawam mentioned. “Going again to the entire thing with George Floyd and Vanessa Guillen, Vanessa was murdered at the moment final yr, April 22. George Floyd was murdered Could 25. They had been each murdered. They had been each human beings. A yr later, George Floyd’s case is settled and the trial has completed. He acquired justice, his household acquired justice. This household has no justice.”
“What does that inform our nation? What does that inform our women and men who be a part of the armed forces and which are within the armed forces? Since you put in your uniforms each day, you don’t have a voice, you don’t have any protections. Isn’t that discrimination?” Khawam mentioned. “We’re right here as we speak to say cease forgetting about folks and lives and begin defending them.”