Last November, the Florida A&M University drum major was found unresponsive on a school's band bus. The police ruled his death a homicide. The dead man's family maintains Champion died from injuries sustained in a hazing ritual. Others point to his sexuality, and opposition to hazing, as the reasons why he was attacked.
This week authorities finished their investigation and turned the Champion file over to prosecutors. They will now decide what charges, if any, will be handed out.
'During the course of this investigation, Orange County Sheriff's Office investigators have worked over 1000 man hours and over 40 individuals have been interviewed,' Orange County Sheriff's Office said in a statement, as reported by CNN. 'We have worked closely with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and on numerous occasions investigators have traveled to and from Tallahassee to meet with witnesses and gather statements.'
Hazing of band members appears to have a troublesome history at Florida A&M. The ritual Champion was allegedly exposed to is called 'Crossing Bus C.'
'The crossing the bus ritual is an initiation process in which pledges attempt to run down the center aisle from the front door of the bus to the back while being punched, kicked and assaulted by senior members, band members have said,' CNN reported.
The Atlanta-Journal Constitution has an article that has school officials' emails detailing parental concern about the treatment of students. According to the correspondences, university administrators seemed to be at a loss at how to stop the rituals. Files show that since 2007, the police examined approximately two dozen hazing incidents involving the band, fraternities, and other student groups.
The Champion family has filed a notice of intent to sue the university.