ORLANDO (CBS4/ AP) — The Florida A&M student whose death last month has uncovered a culture of hazing with the school’s famed marching band had extensive bleeding in his back and right shoulder.
A full autopsy report released Wednesday says that Robert Champion, 26, had bruising on his chest and abrasions below his waist.
The medical examiner’s office in Orlando released a synopsis of the autopsy report last week in which it concluded that Champion’s death was a homicide.
The full autopsy report provides greater details on his injuries.
The autopsy said Champion was vomiting before becoming unresponsive Nov. 19 aboard a band bus outside an Orlando hotel after the school’s football team lost to rival Bethune-Cookman.
The drum major’s death led to the suspension of longtime band director Julian White and the end of band performances for the near future. Four students suspected of involvement in hazing were briefly expelled from the school. They were reinstated after state police asked the school to stop any disciplinary action until a criminal investigation is finished.
State and local authorities are investigating the death. Any death involving hazing is a third-degree felony in Florida, but no charges have been filed so far.
Three male band members were arrested in a separate probe involving the recent beating of a female member whose thigh bone was broken in early November after she said she was beaten during a hazing ritual.
Hazing cases in marching bands have cropped up over the years, particularly at historically black colleges, where a spot in the marching band is coveted and the bands are revered almost as much as the sports teams.
In 2008, two first-year French horn players in Southern University’s marching band were beaten so badly they had to be hospitalized. A year later, 20 members of Jackson State University’s band were suspended after being accused of hazing.
In 2001, FAMU band member Marcus Parker suffered kidney damage because of a beating with a paddle. Three years earlier, Ivery Luckey, a clarinet player from Ocala, Fla., said he was paddled around 300 times, sending him to the hospital and leaving him physically and emotionally scarred.
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