FAMU Hazing Case: Arrest Warrant Issued for 'President' of Bus C

By: Eyewitness News; Julie Montanaro Email
By: Eyewitness News; Julie Montanaro Email

UPDATED 6.1.2012 by Julie Montanaro

Another member of the Marching 100 is now facing charges in the FAMU hazing scandal.

Fellow percussionists call him the President of Bus C and he's accused in a beating on the same bus on the same day that drum major Robert Champion was hazed to death.

voice of Requesta Harden:
'It was my turn. I was like ... I didn't want to do it." Requesta Harden told investigators.

"Who told you it was your turn to be crossed over?"

"Dante Martin."

"Dante told you directly , it's your turn?"

"Yeah. He just tapped my shoulder and told me to come to go to the back," Harden said.

Dante Martin is now facing misdemeanor hazing charges in the beating of Requesta Harden. Marching 100 members call it a "hot seat."

It happened on board Bus C as the drum section headed to the Florida Classic.

Harden says afterward she couldn't even perform at half time.

"I was about to strap up, put on my drum and I was feeling dizzy and woozy ... and next thing you know ... I just blanked out." she said.

Several band members told investigators that Martin is the president of Bus C and he is responsible for deciding who gets a hot seat, who crosses over and how long it will last.

"Who determines whether .. or how many times or whether you go through a hot seat that night?"

"I guess it would have to be the bus president," Kerian Cox said.

"Do you know who the bus president is currently?"

"I just said it was Dante Martin," Cox said.

Requesta Harden says it was Martin who spelled out the rules and he did it the very first time she set foot on Bus C. Walking away was not an option, she said.

"They wasn't going to let me off that bus... because that was one of the rules."

"Who told you that rule?"

"Dante Martin," she said.

Harden says she was expected to cross over the weekend of the Florida Classic, but after the first beating couldn't go through with it.

'I was about to go through, but I didn't do it because I was worried about my own health, " Harden said.

"Your own health?

"Uh, huh ... because of all the beatings," Harden said.

Harden opted to take a different bus back from the game. Only later did she learn that drum major Robert Champion died on board Bus C that night.

Martin is not charged in Robert Champion's death and a spokeswoman for the state attorney's office can't comment on whether he will be.

She says Martin was charged at the same time as 13 other Marching 100 members, but the documents weren't posted until this week.

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[UPDATE] Tallahassee, Florida - June 1, 2012 - by Julie Montanaro

There may soon be another arrest in FAMU's hazing scandal. Documents released this week show arrest warrants have been issued for a Marching 100 member known as the "bus president."

Dante Martin was never charged in the hazing death of FAMU drum major Robert Champion, but he's now facing charges for hazing another young woman on the bus earlier that same day. The hazing victim says she was so badly beaten she couldn't perform in the band's half time show.

Records released by the Orange County State Attorney's office this week show 25-year-old Dante Martin, the so-called "president" of Bus C, faces a misdemeanor hazing charge related to the beating of fellow percussionist Requesta Harden. Harden says Martin tapped her on the shoulder the morning of the Classic and called her to the back of the bus for a ritual called the hot seat. She says was beaten and when she tried to put on her drum afterward she got dizzy and blacked out.

Harden refused to ride on Bus C on the way back to the hotel because she says she was scared. She learned later that night that drum major Robert Champion died in another hazing ritual on Bus C.

Eleven band members have been charged with felony hazing for Champion's death in November. Two others face misdemeanor charges. Right now, Martin is not facing charges in Champion's death.

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Orlando, FL (AP) -- Another Florida A&M University band member faces a hazing charge, accused of organizing the beating of a female percussionist a few hours before drum major Robert Champion was beaten to death.

Records show 25-year-old Dante Martin -- the so-called "president" of the percussion section bus -- faces a misdemeanor hazing charge related to the beating of 21-year-old Requesta Harden.

Martin's charge was included in affidavits for arrest warrants released Wednesday by the State Attorney's Office in Orlando.

Eleven band members have been charged with felony hazing for Champion's death in November. Two others face misdemeanor charges.

Champion had opposed hazing. But he was also vying to be the band's top leader, and friends say he volunteered to be hazed in order to win respect from others.


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