Florida A&M University has said that drum major Robert Champion was responsible for what happened to him on Bus C on the November night when he was hazed and eventually died.
According to a filing Monday in the Orange County Circuit Court by Richard Mitchell, who was hired to represent FAMU in the civil case, Champion, in his position as a leader, was aware of the dangers involved with hazing, yet “expressly assumed the risk of the hazing injuries that caused his death.”
The documents also state that Champion’s knowledge of hazing, and his witnessing of others being hazed that night, left the decision to participate as a personal choice.
“He realized and appreciated the possibility of injuries as a result of such danger, and not withstanding the opportunity to avoid the danger simply by not showing up at the designated place and time, he deliberately exposed himself to the danger,.” according to the filing.
The Champion family filed a wrongful death suit that Champion’s parents, Robert and Pamela Champion, filed against it and Fabulous Coach Lines in July, claiming the university “negligently failed to have any policies or procedures governing, monitoring, or disciplining FAMU Band members for facilitation, participation or encouragement of hazing activities, or in the alternative.”
In addition,Mitchell also claimed that the university is not responsible for the actions of students while not involved in university-sanctioned or sponsored events, and that the damages incurred “were caused by the active and intervening acts of persons not under FAMU’s control.”
According to prosecutors, Champion was killed following the Florida Classic in Orlando on Nov. 19, 2011, after he participated in a hazing incident called “crossing over,” where he endured punches, kicks and violence from other band members as he tried to push his way to the back of a charter bus. read more…