By Lauren M. Johnson and Rebekah Rees | CNN
Two Atlanta-area high school basketball coaches have been charged with second-degree murder heat death According to court records, a 16-year-old in August 2019.
Imani Bell was a junior at the Elite Scholars Academy (ESA) in Clayton County and played girls’ basketball. According to a lawsuit filed in February by lawyers for the Bell family, she was participating in mandatory conditioning exercises in “extreme heat” in the afternoon when she collapsed after running up the stairs of a football stadium.
A Clayton County grand jury in July convicted her coach, LaRosa Maria Walker-Askere, and her assistant, Dwight Broome Palmer, of second-degree manslaughter, saying they had, “despite the malice, caused the death of a human, Lamani Bell. cause.”
Court records show that he was also charged with second degree cruelty to children, involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct.
NS outside temperature According to autopsy reports conducted by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Bell had a heat index between 92 and 97 degrees, a heat index between 101–103 degrees, and a humidity level between 40 and 55% at the time of her death.
According to the report, Bell’s cause of death was classified as “hyperthermia and rhabdomyolysis during physical exertion with high ambient temperature” and no pre-existing conditions were found. At that time, the manner of death was considered accidental.
Bell’s father Eric told reporters Wednesday that he and his family are grateful for Clayton County District Attorney Tasha Mosley’s allegations, but the family is still grieving.
“It’s refreshing, but at the same time we want to continue fighting for justice,” Eric said.
Bell family lawyer Justin Miller said it was a “historic day” for cases like this. “To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time in history that, in a case like this, charges of manslaughter have been made against negligent coaches,” Miller said.
Miller said the purpose of the lawsuit is to make sure this doesn’t happen to another child.
The Bell family issued a civil suit earlier this year accusing ESA’s coaches and administrators of failing to follow mandatory safety guidelines established by the Clayton County School Board and the Clayton County Public School System’s heat index policy Was.
“The coach has to think twice about the level of motivation to motivate the athletes to win,” said Chris Stewart, the family’s second attorney.
Askere’s attorneys denied the charges against her, arguing that she was “on her first day as coach of the girls’ basketball team, and she was instructed by the athletic director and Elite Scholars Academy personnel to conduct this conditioning activity.” Was trusting,” according to the court filing.
CNN has attempted to reach Palmer’s attorney, Camille Reddick, for comment. When CNN called a phone number for Palmer, one person said “no comment” and hung up. CNN has also reached out to Walker-Askere and attorney Brian Spears for comment.
Calls to Clayton County Public Schools have not been returned at this time. CNN has also reached out to the Clayton County District Attorney and has not heard back.
Walker-Askere and Palmer are to be debated on October 18, 2021.
The-CNN-Wire™ and © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., WarnerMedia Co. All rights reserved.