Champion family: FAMU band shouldn't march next year - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Champion family: FAMU band shouldn't march next year

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Robert Champion's family and their attorney spoke with the media on Tuesday morning. Robert Champion's family and their attorney spoke with the media on Tuesday morning.
ATLANTA -

On the same day that the last of the suspects charged in the death of a Florida A&M University drum major appears in court, the victim's parents spoke out about what they think should come next for the school's band.  Robert Champion's parents said FAMU band shouldn't march next year, even though they've already hired a new band director.

Champion, who was from Decatur, collapsed and died after prosecutors say he was beaten by other band members with fists and instruments on a bus parked outside an Orlando hotel in March 2011.  They say the attack was part of a hazing ritual.  

The last of the suspects, Darryl Cearnel, was charged with manslaughter and felony hazing last March, and his arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday in Orlando.  He wasn't expected to be in court, however, since he has filed a waiver to appear.  Most of the other suspects in the case were charged last year.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Champion's family said the threat to safety of band members has not been addressed.  Champion's mother, Pamela, said a year is not long enough to learn the lessons of what happened to her son.  An attorney for the Champion family said they want to see FAMU's band march again, but they don't want to see someone die afterwards.

Mrs. Champion said she thinks FAMU has to recognize "there is a culture of hazing," or whoever is put in place as the next band director will be tainted.

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