The NBJC Blog

Charges to be filed against several people in death of Fla. A&M drum major

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — At least five Florida A&M band members will face charges in the hazing death of a drum major in Orlando last fall, authorities said Tuesday.

Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings told The Associated Press that multiple defendants will be charged in Robert Champion’s death, although he refused to say what the charges are.

At least five defendants face a wide range of misdemeanor and felony charges, said Danielle Tavernier, a spokeswoman for the State Attorney’s Office in Orlando. She refused to name the charges pending an announcement by prosecutors on Wednesday.

No arrests had been made by Tuesday afternoon. Both Demings and Tavernier said the arrests would likely take place in multiple jurisdictions.

Detectives say Champion suffered blunt trauma blows and that he died from shock caused by severe bleeding after he was hazed by other band members on a bus parked outside an Orlando hotel. Hazing that involves bodily harm is a third-degree felony in Florida.

Witnesses in the Champion case have told his parents he might have been targeted because he opposed the culture of hazing they say has long existed in the band. It has also been suggested to them that he was targeted because Champion was gay and a candidate for chief drum major.

 

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READ NBJC's call to action demanding a fair and thorough investigation of Champion's death >