State Of Florida Charges 13 In Hazing Death Of FAMU Drum Major
These “kids” could do up to six years behind bars for taking part in the hazing of Robert Champion.
Florida prosecutors on Wednesday charged 13 individuals in connection with the hazing death of a Florida A&M University drum major last November, in a case that has heightened scrutiny of violent rituals on college campuses across the country.
Lawson Lamar, the state attorney for Orange County, said at a news conference in Orlando that 11 of the people face felony hazing charges, which carry a maximum sentence of six years in prison. The remainder face misdemeanor hazing charges. Mr. Lawson said he would not release the names of those charged, since most of them have not yet been arrested.
The death of the drum major, 26-year-old Robert Champion, was “nothing short of an American tragedy,” he said. “We know that Robert Champion died as a result of being beaten” and “his death is not linked to one sole strike but is attributed to multiple blows.”
Mr. Champion collapsed aboard a bus in Orlando after a hazing incident following a football game against rival Bethune-Cookman University. The medical examiner’s office in Orlando ruled the death a homicide, caused by internal bleeding resulting from blunt-force trauma.
Mr. Champion, who was previously healthy, died within an hour of the hazing incident, according to the medical examiner’s report. An autopsy found “extensive contusions of his chest, arms, shoulder and back,” the report said.
In a statement released after the charges, Solomon Badger, chairman of the Florida A&M board of trustees, and university president James Ammons said, “We are vigorously working to eradicate hazing from FAMU and doing everything within our power to ensure an incident like this never happens again. Our hearts and our prayers are with the Champion family and the extended FAMU family as we all continue to deal with this tragedy.”
What a terrible tragedy. These charges were vital in order for colleges to take these situations seriously. Robert Champion should not have died.
May he rest in peace.