TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Police have arrested three Florida A&M band members for allegedly beating a female member so severely during hazing rituals that they broke her thigh.
The Tallahassee police said Monday that in hazing ceremonies Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 the three struck Bria Shante Hunter's legs with their fists and with a metal ruler to initiate her into the "Red Dawg Order." It's a band clique for students who come from Georgia.
Hunter told police that days later the pain became unbearable, so she went to the hospital. It was discovered that her thigh bone was broken and that she had blood clots in her legs.
Hunter's beatings came about three weeks before FAMU drum major Robert Champion died after an alleged hazing incident during a trip to Orlando.
Hunter's parents told Atlanta's WXIA-TV that the freshman clarinet player suffered a fractured thigh bone and damaged knee. They say when she returned to Georgia she couldn't bend her legs.
A police report states the alleged battery started Sept. 15 and continued through Nov. 7, shortly before Champion collapsed outside an Orlando hotel and died. Investigators have linked his death to hazing.
The new allegations came to light the same day that hundreds of people mourned Champion at an Atlanta-area church earlier this month.
The 26-year-old junior was found dead Nov. 19 on a bus parked outside an Orlando, Fla., hotel after the school's football team lost to a rival. Police said Champion, a clarinet player, had been vomiting and complained he couldn't breathe shortly before he collapsed, but they have not released any other details.
Since Champion's death, the band director at the historically black university in Tallahassee has been fired. The school has announced an independent probe, and the university president said he will work to end the long practice of hazing in the marching band.
The group that oversees Florida's public universities announced Tuesday it wanted to investigate whether the school did enough to respond to hazing.
The Florida A&M band, known as the "Marching 100," was one of the most prominent in the nation. The band has performed at Super Bowls, the Grammys and presidential inaugurations.