Hazing Trial Starts for 4 Band Members

Four band members from Florida A&M University’s celebrated Marching 100 are set to begin trial on Monday on charges of felony hazing and manslaughter, three years after drum major Robert Champion died during a hazing initiation known as “crossing” Bus C, which involved members being beaten with mallets, fists, and drumsticks. The band was suspended for over a year and FAMU’s president resigned as a result. The incident occurred in November 2011, when Champion, 26, and other members boarded Bus C parked outside a hotel. Champion and two other band members then had to wade from the front of the bus to the back as other members pounded them with fists, drumsticks and mallets. Once he made it to the back, Champion vomited and complained of trouble breathing. He then fell unconscious and could not be revived. He died of hemorrhagic shock and his autopsy showed extensive internal bleeding. Fifteen band members have been charged with manslaughter and hazing. All but four have had their cases settled.