(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) — Florida A&M University announced Thursday that it is lifting the suspension of its famed marching band about a year and a half after the hazing death of drum major Robert Champion.
The university announced the decision at a news conference Thursday morning, according to ABC’s Tallahassee affiliate WTXL.
Champion, 26, was a member of the college’s “Marching 100” band when he collapsed and died Nov. 19, 2011 on a bus parked outside an Orlando, Fla., hotel after a football game.
The death was ruled a homicide and Champion’s torso was covered with bruises that were inflicted during a brutal hazing ritual that contributed to his death, according to investigators.
The band, known for performing at events including the Super Bowl and presidential inaugurations, was suspended shortly after Champion’s death. The incident also contributed to the resignation of the university’s president and retirement of the band director.
About 13 FAMU band members were charged in relation to Champion’s death. At least two have already been sentenced.
Over 2,000 pages of evidence from the investigation into Champion’s death were released by the Florida District Attorney’s Office in May 2012, which delivered a blow-by-blow of the events from the night of Champion’s death.
Champion endured a lethal pummeling down the aisle of a pitch-black bus that rocked from the force of the violence inside, according to the documents.
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.
The attorney for Champion’s parents did not immediately respond to request for comment.
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Morgan Loew, CNN
Mike Price, EastIdahoNews.com
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