*(Via ABC News) – Florida A&M drum major Robert Champion endured a lethal pummeling down the aisle of a pitch black bus that rocked from the force of the violence inside, the culmination of a tradition of violent hazing at the nationally known marching band.
Champion struggled, with a female band member holding him back to prolong the punishment, through a gauntlet of band mates who used their fists, feet, straps and sticks to pound him into unconsciousness.
Over 2,000 pages of evidence from the investigation into Champion’s death were released by the Florida District Attorney’s Office and they deliver a blow-by-blow of the night’s events.
They also describe a culture that considers repeated “hot seat” beatings and the final “crossing over” gauntlet that killed Champion as rites of passage.
“It’s a respect thing, you know,” Jonathan Boyce told investigators.
Band members said that the band director and bus driver were not on the bus for the “crossing over,” but that they were sometimes up front watching movies during the “hot seat” beatings.
Boyce, the head band member now charged with felony hazing, told detectives that Champion “was wanting to do it [cross over] all season,” but Boyce had been reluctant to let him. Champion could not participate without Boyce’s permission, as dictated by the band’s internal code of hierarchy.
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