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APNewsBreak: Charges coming in US hazing death

APNewsBreak: Charges coming in US hazing death

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.
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.
Cases of hazing _ or endurance rituals to which prospective members are subjected _ among marching bands have cropped up over the years, particularly at historically black colleges.
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.
In a January interview with The Associated Press, Champion's parents dismissed the notion that his sexual orientation brought on this incident, which was to their knowledge the first time he'd ever been hazed.
"The main reason that we heard is because he was against hazing, and he was totally against it," Champion's father, Robert Champion Sr. told the AP.
Champion's parents have sued the bus company that owns the bus where the hazing took place.
Since Champion's death, FAMU and other schools have been under intense scrutiny about how they handle complaints of hazing.
FAMU suspended the band and launched a task force to recommend steps it could take to curtail hazing, the subject of complaints involving the university band for years.
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Associated Press writer Bill Kaczor in Tallahassee and Mike Schneider in Orlando contributed to this report


Updated : 2021-06-22 16:43 GMT+08:00