WATCH: Friends say Florida A&M band member beaten to death in hazing ritual was gay

Robert Champion

Friends of Robert Champion, the Florida A&M University drum major who died after being beaten in a hazing ritual in November, have told his family’s attorneys that Champion was gay.

CNN reports that Champion’s relatives now believe his sexual orientation may have been one of many factors that contributed to Champion being treated more severely than other band members.

The Associated Press reports today that Champion’s family plans to sue the company that owns the bus where the hazing took place, in addition to the university.

Watch a video report from CBS News below.

UPDATE: The National Black Justice Coalition is calling for Champion’s death to be treated as an anti-gay hate crime. Read the full press release after the jump.

—  John Wright