[Updated at 9:23 a.m. ET] Friends of Robert Champion, a Florida A&M University drum major who died in November after allegedly being beaten as part of a band hazing ritual, have told his family's attorney that Champion was gay, attorney Chris Chestnut said Tuesday. Relatives said they believe sexual orientation may have been one of many factors that could have contributed to Champion being treated more severely than other band members may have been, Chestnut said.
[Posted at 9:21 a.m. ET] The family of Robert Champion, who died in November after he allegedly was beaten on a bus as part of a Florida A&M University band hazing ritual, will be suing Fabulous Coach Lines, based in Branford, Florida, attorney Chris Chestnut said Tuesday.
The bus may have been running at the time Champion was beaten, attorney Chris Chestnut said, and the bus driver might not have been aboard. The family is suing Fabulous Coach Lines, based in Branford, Florida, he said.
Champion, 26, collapsed in Orlando on a bus carrying members of FAMU's Marching 100 band after a November football game that included a halftime performance by the group. Chestnut has charged that Champion died after receiving "some dramatic blows, perhaps (having an) elevated heart rate" tied to "a hazing ritual" that took place on the bus.
The family members scheduled a news conference Tuesday morning to share more information about a marching band hazing incident that they say led to his death.
The medical examiner's office ruled his death a homicide and said Champion "collapsed and died within an hour of a hazing incident during which he suffered multiple blunt trauma blows to his body."
The death prompted the FAMU board of trustees to approve a new three-part anti-hazing plan.
The new policy, approved last week, was passed in a 9-1 vote by the board as the school continues to deal with the controversial death.
An autopsy found "extensive contusions of his chest, arms, shoulder and back," as well as "evidence of crushing of areas of subcutaneous fat," which is the fatty tissue directly under a person's skin.
Along with the university, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Orange County Sheriff's Office are also investigating the case.FULL STORY