Protests will be held across Australia on November 2 following the fatal attack on Noongar-Yamatji teenager Cassius Tervey in Perth’s eastern suburbs on October 13.
Cassius Turvey, 15, died of head injuries on October 23, ten days after he was allegedly beaten with a metal pole by a man who jumped out of a black Ford Ranger. Turvey was walking from school with his friends in Middle Swan at the time of the alleged attack.
This was told by the Turvey family WA Today that the alleged attacker had falsely accused him and his friends of breaking a car window the previous day. In addition, Turvey’s friends allege that the attacker and the driver of the Ute racially abused them.
On October 25, West Australian police charged Jack Steven James Brearley with Turvey’s murder. Three days later, police added charges of aggravated assault occasioning bodily harm and theft, alleging Brearley also hit Turvey’s 13-year-old friend with a metal pole and stole the boy’s crutches and hat.
However, police commissioner Colonel Blanch angered Noongar community leaders by downplaying racism as a potential factor in the alleged attacks. In an open letter published on October 28 WA Todaythey wrote
“Cassius was not ‘in the wrong place at the wrong time.’ He was in his school uniform with his friends in broad daylight.
They pounced on him with weapons.
We want our children to stand up against racism. It is very real in this community. We must respond to this as a hate crime. That’s what it was.
The Prime Minister and the Commissioner of Police order us to be silent. We know that the attacks on our children are real. They downplay this horrific murder of young Cassius. This is wrong and dangerous, especially since our people are not elected to serve on juries.
We as the Noongar Nation are outraged by this senseless, inhumane, cowardly racist act against an innocent child. We call on the Government to meet us now.”
Cassius Turvey’s grieving mother Meshel Turvey said WA Today. “I ache for my son; 15 years; for no reason at all I lost him… I’m just appalled at some of the violence that’s going on in our communities.”
A GoFundMe page set up by Cassius’ family to pay for funeral and legal costs, as well as their campaign for justice, had raised more than $473,000 as of Oct. 29. The family expressed its deep gratitude for the expressions of solidarity from the entire community.
This was told by a medical worker at the Perth Children’s Hospital who treated Cassius Red flag that his injuries and subsequent death had left hospital staff “upset and in despair”. “The fact that the injuries were racially motivated makes me very angry. There is no place for racism in our society, at all. We must fight and continue to fight for the health of aboriginal people, especially children,” said a health worker who wished to remain anonymous.
Liam Butler, a student at Swan View Senior High School, where Cassius attended, also spoke about the impact his death had on the local community. “His death has shaken the whole school, Midland/Swan and the wider Indigenous community. The students are grieving but remain strong in the face of this blatant injustice,” he said. “The teaching staff is just as outraged, with some from the Indigenous program handing out flyers for a community event and posters for an upcoming vigil at the school gates.”
Wednesday, November 2, has been declared a National Day of Action demanding #justiceforcassius. Event details:
Perth: Forest Place, 12.30pm
Bunbury: Graham Bricknell Music Shell, 6pm
Albany: City Hall, 6:30 p.m
Broome: Courthouse, walk at 3:30 p.m., candlelight vigil at 5:30 p.m.
Onslow: Beach BBQ, First Ave., 5:30 p.m
Sydney: Town Hall, 6pm
Mr Druitt, Cnr Carlisle Ave & Luxford Rd, 6.30pm
Newcastle: Civic Park, 6pm
Wollongong: McCabe Park, 6pm
Eden: RSL, 6pm
Canberra: Aboriginal Tent Embassy, 6pm
Melbourne: Aboriginal Development League, 6pm
Geelong: Wathaurong Aboriginal Corp, 6pm
Portland: Skate Park Shelter, 6 p.m
Brisbane: King George Square, 6pm
Adelaide: Victoria Square, 6pm
Darwin: Rapid Creek Bridge, 6 p.m
Alice Springs: Courthouse, 6pm