Cassius Turvey: police controversy follows killing of Australian boy, 15

Vigils and demonstrations will be held over the next two weeks

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The killing of an Australian boy, 15, who was beaten to death in the street in Perth has shocked the nation, leading to calls for demonstrations demanding justice for hate crimes.

Indigenous Australian Cassius Turvey was chased by a group of men allegedly shouting racial slurs and armed with metal bars and a machete. He was with a group of young teenagers accused by the men of breaking their car window.

Marches and vigils to commemorate the boy’s life and raise awareness of racism in Australia are planned for next Monday and Thursday.

A statement from the Western Australia Police Commission said it was too early to determine whether there was a racial motive for Turvey’s alleged murder. He was taken to Perth Children’s Hospital after the attack and died 10 days later from his injuries.

“We’re not operating on any principles of racism or motivation at this point, other than to say we believe there was a damage incident that occurred and that’s resulted in the alleged murder of a very young boy,” said Perth police commissioner Col Blanch.

Mr Blanch's reference to a "damage incident" refers to an allegation that a car belonging to one of the attackers had been damaged by youths the previous day and that this may have been one of the motives for the attack.

The police said they do not believe Turvey and his friends were responsible for any criminal damage.

“I do understand the high public interest, this is a devastating outcome to have a young boy killed on the streets in Western Australia, it’s absolutely horrific."

The police statement on the killing provoked an angry response on social media, with many accounts stressing that a racial motive was highly likely.

“Cassius Turvey never made it home from school,” wrote Adam Bant, an MP for Melbourne, on Twitter.

“Just 15 years old, he was allegedly targeted by someone who shouted racial slurs, told him to run, and then brutally beat him with a metal pole. He died days later. This is the ongoing reality of racist violence in Australia."

Police said a man, 21, was being held in connection with the attack. Turvey’s family released a statement on his death, saying his attackers knew he was a school-age child.

“On October 13, 2022, our very dear 15-year-old Cassius Turvey was viciously attacked with a metal pole by men who were unknown to him,” read a statement from the family.

“They presumed he was the person responsible for breaking windows in the neighbourhood. The men were aware Cassius was underage, as he was wearing his school uniform."

Updated: October 27, 2022, 8:23 AM