Content Warning: This article contains references to violence and the name of an Indigenous person who has died.
On October 13, Cassius Turvey, a 15-years-old Noongar Yamatji boy, was murdered. This attack took place in the suburb of Midland, Perth, as he was walking home from his school.
Cassius was allegedly hit in the head with a metal pipe and called racial slurs by Jack Brearley. Turvey died in hospital, and Brearley was arrested.
The family of Cassius is now seeking justice. Moreover, they have some very specific guidelines for what justice in this situation would constitute. Here is exactly what they are after:
Mechelle Turvey Doesn’t Want Any More Violence
On November 2, a series of over forty rallies and vigils called a National Day of Action were held across Australia. These events were used to honour the life of Cassius.
During said gatherings, a statement written by Mechelle Turvey was read. It said, “As mum of Cassius Turvey, I extend on behalf of my family, sincerest love and gratitude. The love, the generosity, the kindness, and the outpouring of tributes across the nation has been so appreciated.”
This statement also read that Turvey’s family doesn’t want rioting, physical fighting, or retributive violence to happen in their name.
“I don’t want any more violence, I am the only person who can get justice for my son. Stand alongside me, and I appreciate everyone, but I need to call out for calm,” said Mechelle.
“Violence breeds violence, I want calm and peace. I don’t want to fuel prejudices, biases. I don’t want to fuel the stereotypes of First Nations people as violent.”
Mechelle Turvey Wants the Police Force to Do Better
In Mechelle’s statement, she specifically called the police’s response to the death of her son inadequate. She wants the police to do better when dealing with crimes that involve children.
“A complete statement was not taken by the police from Cassius after the violent attack, and there was no contact with me, his mother. Why? It takes a loss of a loved one to get proper duty of care, an investigation.”
“I feel that, as a mum, I should have been kept in the loop about the statement. The statement was incomplete, it was vital. Cassius was talking at the hospital and they should have taken his full statement but never did.”
Mechelle Turvey Wants More Education For Kids
Mechelle’s statement also detailed that getting justice for Cassius means transforming the education system.
“The Governments need to invest in eliminating youth violence. It is mandatory that there are significant investments in youth centres, in programs where kids matter, and work on building with lost youth on self-esteem gaps.”
“There must be significant awareness about bullying and that we need funded mentoring. You can’t just put up a poster about bullying, you need mentors.”
Moreover, Mechelle wants a school program in the Perth suburb of Midland that helps these kids recognise their worth.
“I want a ‘kids matters’ program that instils empowerment in my Midland community. We want these kids matters programs to begin in Midland where a significant proportion of the population are Indigenous, which hopefully spread across the country at pace for lost and troubled young souls. They need mentors to do the journey with them.”
“I would like to see a program like this established and accessed by all vulnerable young people in my area.”
Cassius Turvey’s GoFundMe Campaign
On October 23, Michelle Wighton, a relation of Mechelle and Cassius, set up a GoFundMe fundraiser to help support her family. In this post, Wighton detailed how the money one might donate to this cause would be spent.
“The funds raised will be used for the funeral and funeral related-expenses. In addition, they will be put towards legal costs (and a potentially costly legal battle) as our family continues to fight for justice for Cassius,” said Wighton.
“Finally, any additional funds will be used to support local youth and to give back to the local community where Cassius lived and grew up, and this will be done in Cassius’ name.”
As of November 3, this campaign has raised over $600,000.
“To every single person that has donated to our fundraiser, shared it, and offered help: Thank you,” said Wighton. “Our family has been blown away by people’s generosity right around the country, and it has been comforting for us as we continue to grieve Cassius.”