Monroe Marine in puppy-throwing video discharged

HONOLULU — A Marine from Monroe is being tossed out of the service as punishment for his role in a video that showed him throwing a puppy off a cliff in Iraq, the U.S. Marine Corps reported Wednesday evening.

Lance Cpl. David Motari, 22, of Monroe, a veteran of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, is being discharged from the Marine Corps as a result of an investigation into the incident, Maj. Chris Perrine of Marine Corps Base Hawaii said.

Motari’s unit, based in Hawaii, is currently training for redeployment in Iraq this fall.

The 17-second video showing Motari throwing the puppy spread widely on the Internet beginning March 3 and led to international headlines and death threats against his family in Monroe.

Reached at her home Wednesday, Motari’s mother declined comment.

Monroe Mayor Donnetta Walser said it would be wrong to let the video define Motari’s character.

“You never know how young men will react in a war zone,” Walser said. “It’s unfortunate that this overshadows what he’s done in serving our country.”

Likewise, Motari’s conduct should not tarnish Monroe’s reputation, the mayor said.

“It’s really unfortunate,” she said. “I still have concerns for his family and friends here.”

While careful not to publicly confirm Motari’s identity as the person who threw the dog for the last three months, the Marine Corps on Wednesday not only named him, but also deplored his conduct.

“The Marine Corps conducted a thorough investigation as soon as it learned of the event and acted as swiftly as possible,” a statement said. “The actions seen in the Internet video are contrary to the high standards we expect of every Marine and will not be tolerated. The vast majority of Marines conduct their duties with honor and compassion that makes American people proud.”

The video was broadcast on CNN; Fox News; MSNBC; and Aljazeera.com, a news Web site based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Countless people posted their opinions about the video online. Internet-fueled rage quickly turned to death threats against the Marine’s family. Many even called his mother’s workplace in Monroe, demanding that she be fired.

It’s people stateside who send young servicemen and women to war, Monroe City Councilman Mitch Ruth said.

“As unfortunate as this incident is, I still find it troublesome that there was far more outcry for this puppy than the fact that … this Marine, was sent to war in another country,” Ruth said.

The controversy highlighted a new and growing problem for the U.S. military.

Young tech-savvy warriors who head into combat zones abroad have begun posting raw, disturbing images on the Internet, without knowing how easily they can stir outrage or hurt others, including loved ones in the states. The military is scrambling to control the risk.

Motari has received a nonjudicial form of punishment and is currently being processed for separation from the Marine Corps for his role in the video.

Results of nonjudicial punishments and the type of discharge received cannot be released under the Privacy Act.

One other Marine has been disciplined as a result of the video. Sergeant Crismarvin Banez Encarnacion, based in San Diego, Calif., also has received nonjudicial punishment.

Reporter Yoshiaki Nohara: 425-339-3029 or ynohara@heraldnet.com.

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