Thousands crowded into Forrest Place in central Boorloo (Perth) on 2 November 2022 for a vigil, rally and march to demand justice for Cassius Turvey.
The much loved 15-year-old Noongar Yamtji boy was allegedly assaulted with a metal pole carried by a 21-year-old white man. The teen was walking home from school in the suburb of Middle Swan and died ten days later.
The Perth rally was one of 44 actions held around the country to mourn the teenager and call for justice for Cassius. Rallies were held in every capital city and many regional centres. Organisers of the Perth protest appealed to attendees to bring placards, demanded real change and made this known as they marched through the central city.
Community members are demanding that West Australian Commissioner of Police Col Blanch withdraw comments he made and apologise. Blanch called for the community to not speculate about motive, commenting that Cassius was simply “in the wrong place at the wrong time.” This comment has sparked fury. It was broad daylight, and Cassius and his friends were walking home from school wearing their school uniforms. Blanch continues to reiterate that there can be no presumption of racism, despite the other kids walking home with Cassius telling the media they were subjected to racist slurs.
His family’s support for the outpouring of community solidarity has been crucial. Mechelle Turvey, Cassius’ mum, has shown immense strength during a time of enormous grief. Her strong backing for national vigils and rallies, as well as united demands for justice, have been key. Speaking at the Perth rally she said, “My boy talks to me every day in my heart and tells me what to do.”
Community advocates know that there is a long road ahead with a court case to be heard. But platitudes from WA Premier Mark McGowan, who said, “I just urge everyone to let the law run its course,” do not sit well.
The Noongar community has heard it all before — for example, in 2016 after the death of 14-year-old Elijah Doughty in Kalgoorlie. The man who hunted down the First Nations teenager, hitting and killing him with a car, had his charge downgraded from manslaughter to dangerous driving. He served just 19 months in jail.
The Freedom Social Party stands in solidarity with Mechelle Turvey and the extended family, the traumatised friends of Cassius and the Noongar community of Boorloo. Let’s use the very real grief and Mechelle Turvey’s calls for multi-racial unity to build a movement that can put a permanent end to racist hate crimes.
#ForeverFifteen #JusticeForCassius #AboriginalLivesMatter #KidsMatter #RacismKills