OPINION - Florida prosecutors have filed charges against 13 individuals who participated in the beating death of Florida A&M drum major Robert Champion, during a hazing ritual. 11 of the 13 will face felony hazing charges while the 2 remaining defendants will face only misdemeanor charges. Champion was discovered unresponsive abroad a bus after the beating. The cause of death was due to internal bleeding, which led him to go into shock.
Felony Hazing? What kind of charge is that? Beating someone to death isn’t hazing, it is murder. To add insult to injury if found guilty, they will face less than six years in prison. Not only is this insulting, but it is a miscarriage of justice and one should feel empathy for Champions mother. No parent should have to bury their child, but then suffer a 2nd time by allowing his killers to get away with a slap on the wrist. If Champion wasn’t a FAMU student, nor were his killers, the suspects would surely face charges of at least 2nd degree murder or manslaughter.
One most analyze why felony hazing was handed down to these suspects in the first place. One being that it occurred at FAMU, and it would be in the best interest of the college if charges were minimized. Politics is also playing a pivotal role in allowing these individuals, whom have literally got away with murder. If one does not think a university like FAMU is powerful and can provide security blankets to those who break the law - just look at the scandal at Penn State for guidance. The 2nd reason is that the victim is black, we all know what the criminal justice system thinks of victims when they are of color. Lastly, Champion's sexual orientation, which has come to light also may have played a part in why he was beaten so severely in the first place. If Champion were a straight man, would he have received such malicious abuse by the hands of his band mates? If that's the case not only is this murder, but it is a hate crime.
The 11 of the 13 students charged with felony hazing possibly squandered their future. A parent sends their child off to college, but one doesn't come back home and a few others are in a predicament that will follow them for the rest of their lives. Both cases are tragic, but this will have all been averted if colleges crack down on hazing, which is nothing more than an excuse to bully and in this case kill someone.
The state of Florida is sending a clear message that you can murder a college student if he/she goes to a prestigious university and just chalk it up as simply hazing. What kind of message are we sending other colleges who participate in vicious hazing, across America? The entire band program should be suspended as punishment for taking another life. Why are they still allowed to function is beyond me. Florida still can’t seem to get it right, maybe they don’t want too - especially when the victim is someone of color.
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