FAMU police records show hazing complaints

— Documents show that Florida A&M University police investigated at least 10 complaints about hazing involving the school's famed marching band between August 2007 and November, when a band member died after being hazed, the Orlando Sentinel reported Saturday.

The newspaper reported (http://thesent.nl/xFhgoU) that it received the campus police documents through a public records request.

Among the documents is a complaint from former FAMU student Bria Shante Hunter days before alleged hazing ceremonies Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 left her with a broken leg. Three students have been charged with hazing Hunter.

Hunter told campus police that she complained to a band employee during a band trip to South Carolina around Oct. 22 about being "battered" earlier in the semester during an initiation by a group affiliated with the band, the documents show.

Chuck Hobbs, an attorney for longtime band director Julian White, said that if the employee heard a complaint about hazing, he should have reported it.

"Protocol dictates that band staff, upon receiving reports of hazing, are required to report them to Dr. White, who immediately reports any alleged incidents to FAMU police," Hobbs said.

White was not informed of any hazing involving Hunter until her parents contacted him about her injuries in November, Hobbs said.

White is on administrative leave.

The documents detail hazing Marching 100 band members reported in the years before Robert Champion died in November. Authorities are still investigating Champion's death on a charter bus during a band trip to Orlando.

On Aug. 25, 2007, the mother of a clarinet player complained to campus police that her daughter was hospitalized after being hit with a clothes hanger and other items during band practice, according to the documents.

It's unclear whether anyone was disciplined for that incident. Later that month, after a freshman reported being hit on the elbows with the metal portion of a musical instrument's mouthpiece, two seniors were suspended from the band, and two people were later arrested, the records show.

One man was charged with battery after allegedly hitting another student twice in the face on Sept. 18, 2007, calling him a racial slur and demanding that he quit the band, the records show.

The documents show that one campus police investigation was prompted by a letter from FAMU President James Ammons' office in late 2007. The result of that investigation was not available.

After Champion's death, Hobbs wrote Ammons a letter stating that hazing had been met with "reckless indifference by White's superior officers who often ignored his requests for assistance," according to the records.

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