Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that the following article contains details of the violence and the name of the person who died.
Cassius Turvey, a 15-year-old boy from Noongar, was walking home from school with his friends on the afternoon of October 13 when he was brutally attacked with a metal pole. He later died on Sunday at Perth Children’s Hospital from injuries sustained in the attack.
Tributes have been pouring in on social media for Cassius and his mother Meshel Turvey.
On the way home, schoolchildren asked for permission to go to local shops. After jumping off the bus near Midland Tafe around 4:30 p.m., they were followed by a man in a black Ford Ranger who got out of the vehicle and allegedly attacked Cassius with a metal pole as his friends fled to safety, according to Washington police.
The brutal attack left Cassius with several head injuries, including a gash on his head that required seven stitches and a cut ear. Meshel Turvey told NITV Point that he was sent home and is doing well. “All the scans were done,” she says. Eight hours later, he experienced an attack of pain and convulsions, and after returning to the hospital he fell into an induced coma. He then underwent brain surgery to reduce swelling and bleeding in his brain and suffered two strokes. He died Sunday surrounded by his family, just over a month after his father, Sam Turvey, died of cancer.
Jack Stephen James Brearley, 21, who was initially charged with unlawful wounding, was upgraded to murder on Tuesday.
Police have not indicated whether they are pursuing anyone else for the attack; and although Guardian reports that “police said the accused had damaged his car the day before the attack”, Senior Sergeant Cleel said the motivation for the attack was unclear. There was no indication that Cassius or Mr Brearley knew each other, Detective Cleel said.
Meanwhile, community members on social media are calling Cassius’ death a textbook case of racial profiling.
Washington State Police also asked anyone with information about the alleged use of the metal pole to come forward.
Mechel Turvey, a Noongar Yamatji woman, told ABC Radio Perth her son was “lively, caring, a jokester with a good smile”. In his spare time, he mowed lawns and instead of charging a set price, he charged customers only what they could afford.
Cassius Turvey and his partner’s lawn mowing business. Do lawns for any amount you wanted to pay ❤️ pic.twitter.com/Z5RvAbvE8Q
— Zaaron Wyatt (@zaaron23) October 25, 2022
“He just loved all the young guys around him. Loved visiting youth centers,” continued Turvey.
To cover funeral and legal expenses, Cassius’ cousin Michelle Wighton organized a Go Fund Me campaign. If you’re looking for a way to show your support for the Tervey family during this time, money always helps. Called #justiceforcassius, the family has so far raised over $170,000 and is growing with over 4,100 individual donations.
In the description of the Go Fund Me campaign, Wighton wrote: “On October 13, 2022, our dear 15-year-old Cassius Turvey was brutally attacked by unknown people with a metal pole. They assumed he was responsible for it. for breaking windows in the neighborhood. The men knew Cassius was a minor because he was wearing his school uniform.’
In the comments below, donors leave messages of solidarity, support and distrust. “A mother’s worst nightmare, I am so sorry for your loss. Sending love and support from Minang country,” said one. “I’m sick of seeing black lives lost,” read another.
A candlelight vigil was held at Midland Oval on October 31st at 5.30pm to coincide with Halloween, Cassius’ favorite holiday. Participants are encouraged to dress up in their best spooky outfit. “Please come dressed in your best Halloween costume!” read event details.
Cassius’ death rightfully sparked outrage on social media, with many calling it a case of racial profiling. Rallies are planned for November 2 in Perth, Geraldton, Sydney and Adelaide. More information on this will follow.
Grade 9 student Cassius Turvey died after he and friends were allegedly attacked after school by armed white men who shouted racist abuse.
Absolutely hell that a racist murder of a child could happen in broad daylight in suburban Australia.https://t.co/RlNNZWjspp
— Benjamin Law 羅旭能 (@mrbenjaminlaw) October 24, 2022
15-year-old Aboriginal boy Cassius Turvey and a group of friends were approached by a 21-year-old man as they were walking home. This man beat him with a pole, which resulted in his death.
Please support the family in getting justice wherever you can!
— Nessa Turnbull-Roberts (@TurnbullVanessa) October 24, 2022