The medical examiner’s report describes a horrific night, involving “multiple blunt trauma blows to his body.” Police ruled the death a homicide from hazing.
However, the recent revelation by the parents of Robert Champion Jr. that their son was gay has added a new twist. Prompting the National Black Justice Coalition, the nation’s largest Black LGBT civil rights organization, to call on theU.S. Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service and Civil Rights Division as well as the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights to launch an investigation into the slaying as a potential anti-gay hate crime.
Sharon Lettman-Hicks, the head of the NBJC, said, “Anti-gay violence is not only a civil rights issue; it is a Black issue. It is a Black issue because violence against gay and transgender individuals is disproportionately affecting our Black youth. The civil rights community can no longer stand on the sidelines while our sons and daughters continue to suffer in silence. Mr. Champion is one of our own and his death will not be in vain.”