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FAMU Hazing: 3 'Marching 100' Members Arrested

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By Andrew Chow, Esq. on December 13, 2011 1:15 PM

A FAMU hazing incident has led to the arrest of three marching band members, nearly a month after another FAMU band member's hazing-related death.

Three members of Florida A&M University's famed "Marching 100" are accused of beating a freshman clarinet player so badly, they broke her leg, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

Sean Hobson, 23, Aaron Golson, 19, and James Harris, 22, were arrested Monday in connection with hazing. Hobson and Golson are also facing felony battery charges. All three remained in jail Tuesday morning, the Democrat reported.

Police say the victim, Bria Hunter, 18, of Atlanta, was persuaded by FAMU band members to join the "Red Dawg Order," a clique of marching band students from Georgia.

Red Dawg upperclassmen pummeled Hunter with punches and beat her thighs with a metal rod, the Democrat reports. Hunter, unable to walk or bend her legs, was taken to a hospital, where exams showed a blood clot in her legs, bruises on her bones, and a cracked femur.

Florida law defines hazing as a third-degree felony if it results in serious injury or death. Hazing can also be a misdemeanor, if it creates a substantial risk of injury or death.

Reports suggest Hunter may have consented to taking part in an initiation rite, but Florida law specifically says the vicitm's consent is not a defense to hazing.

FAMU's Marching 100, which has performed in parades and at the Super Bowl, has been notorious for hazing over the years. The band's director, now on administrative leave, has described the band as being divided into groups that act like gangs, the St. Petersburg Times reported.

The alleged hazing incidents that sent Hunter to the hospital took place Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, Reuters reports. Less than three weeks later on Nov. 19, another FAMU band member died after a separate hazing incident.

Robert Champion, 26, died after an alleged hazing-related beating on the band's bus. After Champion's death, FAMU suspended the Marching 100. A criminal investigation is underway.

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