Three students at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University were arrested Monday on charges of hazing a freshman so severely that her leg was broken, Tallahassee police said.
James Harris, 22, Aaron Golson, 19, and Sean Hobson, 23, are charged with hazing. Hobson and Golson also are charged with felony battery. All were taken to the Leon County Jail.
Freshman Bria Hunter, 18, a member of the school's "Marching 100" band, suffered bruised bones and blood clots in her legs in addition to the cracked femur, doctors told police.
Hunter said she was beaten Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 — less than three weeks before FAMU drum major Robert Champion, 26, collapsed on a bus outside an Orange County hotel Nov. 19. Detectives suspect that hazing led to his death that day.
The Marching 100 were in town to perform at halftime during the Florida Classic football game.
Hobson and Harris were suspended Nov. 8 by band director Julian White for suspected hazing and were not allowed to perform at the Florida Classic, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.
Hunter told authorities Nov. 7 that she was physically abused when she tried to join a band club called "Red Dawg Order," which is composed of band members from Georgia, a police report states.
On Oct. 31, Hunter was struck repeatedly by Hobson and Golson at a meeting of the Red Dawg Order that was held at Harris' apartment, she told police. Hunter was forced to lift her legs as if she were marching, then punched on top of her thighs more than 20 times, investigators said.
The next day at another meeting at the same place, Hunter and other pledges were beaten by Hobson and Golson because they couldn't recite information they were supposed to know about the order, police wrote. Hunter hit her across the thighs with a metal ruler, she said.
Part of the evidence was a group text message to Hunter and others that said, "I apologize for the hurt I put you through. I apologize for the mental and physical strain that you have endured …" according to police.
At least three other pledges who saw the beatings corroborated Hunter's statements, investigators wrote. The other pledges said they were hit in the head or neck for not knowing information about the Red Dawg Order and being unable to recite poems, the report states.
The FAMU Board of Trustees last week reprimanded President James Ammons for his handling of the fallout from Champion's death.
Band Director Julian White is on administrative leave while the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Orange County Sheriff's Office investigate. The state Board of Governors also is investigating.
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