Deaths | Florida | Hazing | Law Enforcement | Robert Champion Jr.

Robert Champion's Killers Still Walk Free, Though Maybe Not For Long

Imgres-3The Robert Champion case is coming along. According to the Orlando Sentinel, police will send prosecutors their report on Champion's murder very soon. How soon? No one's talking about that.

What they are talking about is the immense difficulty of everything that will come later. Robert Champion, you'll recall, was the 26-year-old gay drum major at Florida A&M who was beaten to death last November in a savage band hazing on a chartered bus. From the Sentinel:

... legal experts and former prosecutors said the case will be a "nightmare" to sort out because of all of the potential suspects — perhaps 20 or more — who either took part or might have encouraged the brutal beating Champion suffered.

... The state ... will need to prove who did what aboard the bus that night — using witnesses who are part of a tight-knit group and many of whom probably participated in the hazing themselves.

Several sources interviewed for the Sentinel story imply, though don't outright say, that detectives' jobs have been made more difficult by some kind of confederacy among the guilty parties -- a group which inevitably includes a great many, if not all, of the people who were present during the attack. From the Sentinel:

Key among [State Attorney Lawson] Lamar's decisions will be whether to charge everyone who played a role — directly or indirectly — or only those who led the hazing or dealt the most vicious blows, said several law professors and current and former prosecutors.

Even students who yelled at Champion during the beatings or encouraged the attack could be charged with felony hazing, which carries a maximum five-year prison sentence. Or they could face even more serious charges, including second-degree murder or manslaughter.

As of this writing, no one at all has been arrested in the Champion case -- even though there's no doubt about how Champion was killed, where he was killed, why he was killed, or who was present for the killing. 

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  1. Perhaps because of 100s of years of "the Black person is always wrong", we find ourselves in a time when many Black people dehy any wrongdoing by another Black person (OJ didnt do it, theres nothing wrong with sports stars yelling "faggot", etc)
    And then, there is the looking down on the Gays thing.
    To be free from oppression, people have to be free from oppressing.

    Posted by: Bob | Mar 18, 2012 5:19:22 PM


  2. This murder case has really stumped me - because it looks like murder at the hands of his own classmates. Why the veil of secrecy surrounding his death? Is it worth the life-long guilt sure to plague those who participated in his killing? How can they live with themselves?

    Posted by: OS2Guy | Mar 18, 2012 5:37:09 PM


  3. No one is charged because too many people were involved, even though we know the where, why and how of the murder??????

    Who'd have thunk it. That a group of black kids would now have the same defense as the white KKK members who lynched their forefathers.

    To misquote a Bible phrase . . . isn't there at least one honorable band member who will step forward and do the right thing?

    MLK must be throwing up in his grave over this injustice done by straight blacks upon a gay black man.

    Posted by: Continuum | Mar 18, 2012 5:37:09 PM


  4. There is secrecy surrounding his death because the culture of hazing and bullying runs so deep, they don't want their cover blown and they don't want to have to give up their traditions, and have their traditions in the limelight for people to see just how barbaric the culture of hazing is at Florida A&M. Also, of course, it's about people who are ultimately responsible for the death of Mr. Champion wanting to protect themselves and their friends, teachers and associates from getting in trouble.

    What's obvious is no, there aren't many, if any, honorable members of the Florida A&M band team who are willing to do the right thing by their now deceased band mate. They care about THEMSELVES only. They ultimately just want to participate in band and probably think they can put this behind them by laying low and not saying or doing anything about the case. Maybe the band members think if they ignore what's happened here the guilt that they feel for Robert's death will go away. Who knows? What's obvious is that the selfishness and complete lack of any sort of responsibility taken by Florida A&M administration is reprehensible beyond words.

    Posted by: Francis | Mar 18, 2012 6:52:22 PM


  5. Surely, at minimum, everyone present on that bus is at least an accessory after the fact, is part of a conspiracy, and is thereby committing a hate crime.

    Is none of that true?

    I hope that the reason people haven't been charged is because there is a trail of evidence and testimony, people are talking, and a stronger case with more and heavier penalties is being made.

    On the other hand, this is the same region of Florida (just 30 miles apart) where Trayvon Martin's cold-blooded murder by George Zimmermann is still unprosecuted, despite witnesses and audio recordings.

    Posted by: Randy | Mar 18, 2012 6:54:32 PM


  6. So you can murder somebody as long as you do it as part of a large group and everyone keeps their mouth shut? Good to know.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Mar 18, 2012 7:49:22 PM


  7. I don't get why the state would need to figure out who did what. Charge all of them on the bus. If three guys go in to rob a bank and one of them shoots and kills a teller they all get charged with homicide. Charge them all and see how quickly the wall of silence will fall as they start looking for a plea deal.

    Posted by: Eddie | Mar 18, 2012 8:11:42 PM


  8. @OS2Guy ... Do you honestly think anyone who would do this to another human being feels a smidgen of guilt? Or anyone who would encourage someone else to beat another human being to death?

    There may, in fact, be one or two who have a conscience, but I'm sure they're being intimidated to keep their mouths shut. I doubt,however, that the majority of these kids give a damn about what they did.

    I'm curious, though, as to whether or not this band was allowed to continue playing.

    Posted by: fritzrth | Mar 19, 2012 8:16:16 AM


  9. Exactly, Eddie, glad to see someone else had this idea. Charge every damned person on the bus, and one by one the details about who exactly did what will come pouring out as people rush to cover their own asses and turn states evidence! It's a no-brainer, basic Hercule Poirot! Also charge any faculty, or any other non-student, who is (no pun) instrumental in the functioning of the band--for obviously not doing anything to put an end to this hazing "tradition," even tho it's obviously against the law. Effin morons and murderers all!

    Jezus, imagining what must have happened on that bus, and how long it must have continued...truly, what a nightmare.

    Posted by: jim | Mar 19, 2012 7:48:52 PM


  10. Compare lack of black politicians, media interest, or celebrity interest with the Trayvon Martin case. Guys like Sharpton and others are so phony on anything that exposes real long standing problems that reflect negatively on their "community".

    Posted by: John Hill | Mar 28, 2012 5:29:35 PM


  11. I think the entire FAMU band should be dismantled for at least 5 years. All those involved in this case should be charged with First Degree Murder and put away for life.

    Posted by: George | Apr 19, 2012 2:32:36 PM


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