More details to suggest the United States Navy is not forthcoming in the case of Seaman August Provost III, the black gay sailor found brutally murdered at Camp Pendleton on June 30th. The family offers a very disturbing timeline, saying the military did not tell them this was a homicide and neglected to reveal the manner of death.
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee, who represents Houston and Provost's family, tells the Houston Chronicle: "I am requesting a full investigation into the murder. This death appears bizarre, and more facts need to be uncovered."
Provost's mother, Melanie Provost, said Sunday the military originally told her simply that her son had been found unconscious in the guard shack and later died. "The only way I found out my son had been shot and burned was on TV," she said. Her son had mentioned to her before he died that he was being harassed by some fellow sailors, but he handled it stoically, she said.
Jackson Lee said the incident should lead the military to be less tolerant of similar harassment. "If he was being harassed, why was the bad behavior being covered up? Why was the person still there?" Jackson Lee said. The congresswoman would like to see the military's “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” policy toward gay service members lifted, but says other changes are needed to prevent discrimination of all kinds. Family members say that policy played a part in Provost's poor treatment in the Navy, however.
"Because of ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' he couldn't say anything," said his niece, Keonna Johnson-Jones. "He couldn't go to his superiors."
Provost was shot three times, apparently gagged and bound, and his body burned. Provost told his family he was harassed and ostracized at Pendleton for at least a year because he was gay and black. The family belives the 29-year-old Provost was the victim of a hate crime—and the Navy says the torture, shooting and burning of a sailor at military base was a "random act" of violence.
The seaman was laid to rest with full military honors on Friday.
If the United States Navy will not even tell Seaman Provost's family how their son died in the line of duty, do we really believe their so-called "investigation" will yield the "truth"?