A Muslim family in Michigan is filing a $100 million dollar law suit against the federal government, charging that a lack of supervision and a culture of abuse and hazing by the U.S. Marine Corps led to the death of their son.
Marine officials say the young recruit committed suicide.
In March, 2016, 20-year-old Marine recruit Raheel Siddiqui died after falling three stories in a stairwell.
He’d only been in boot camp for about two weeks.
A Marine investigation found that Siddiqui had an altercation with a drill instructor who had previously called the recruit a terrorist.
Siddiqui reportedly requested medical attention, was told he had not asked for it in the proper manner, then was forced to run laps as a penalty until he collapsed.
The drill instructor allegedly slapped Siddiqui to rouse him.
Siddiqui then jumped up, ran and hurtled over the stairwell.
Officials say Siddiqui had threatened suicide days before but later recanted and was not considered to be at risk.
Siddiqui’s family claims their son was a devout Muslim who never showed signs of being suicidal.
Attorneys for the family say they have had trouble receiving details about the incident from the military, or having the official cause of death changed to “unknown,” despite repeated requests from both lawyers and Michigan Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, who represents the district where the Siddiqui’s reside.
The incident triggered investigations into accusations of repeated physical and verbal abuse of recruits at Parris Island.
It also raised questions about why the drill instructor, who had allegedly discriminated against another recruit who was Muslim, was still in charge of Siddiqui’s training.
The drill instructor and a battalion commander involved face courts martial.
But experts say the lawsuit could also face significant hurdles.
A U.S. Supreme Court decision effectively prevents active duty personnel from collecting damages over injuries that occurred while they were serving in, or training for, the military.