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Byron Shire
November 30, 2022

Comment: What can we learn from the alleged murder of Cassius Turvey?

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What is it that prevents humanity from evolving as a species so that we can more respectfully deal with difference, whether it’s race, gender, religious, sexual orientation or any other form of identity?

The recent reported case of the alleged murder of 15-year-old Aboriginal youth, Cassius Turvey, by 21-year-old Jack Steven James Brearley led Prime Minister Albanese to reportedly declare: ‘This attack that, clearly, is racially motivated just breaks your heart’.

The Prime Minister added, ‘We are a better country than that, and my heart goes out to the family and the friends.’

Indigenous teen Cassius Turvey. Image supplied

If the attack and death of Cassius Turvey was racially motivated, it evokes memories of the case of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man who was chased through the suburban neighbourhood of Brunswick, Georgia in the USA, in February 2020.

Arbery was jogging in a predominately white neighbourhood when he was chased and killed by three white men.

The three white men ultimately faced a number of charges and they were found guilty on all counts and two of the men, father and son Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael, received life sentences while the third man, William Bryan, a neighbour of the McMichael’s, was sentenced to 35 years imprisonment.

US history is tragically littered with racism and terrorism, and black people in America have suffered the bombing of their homes and their places of worship and the lynching of black men was something that every black man, particularly in the deep south of America, lived in fear of.

Brearley has been formally charged and the courts will consider the matter, as it should, but there will be no closure for his family and kin; there never is in these types of crimes.

Professor Bob Morgan is a Gumilaroi man from Walgett in western NSW. Photo supplied.

What does this senseless and brutal incident and countless other similar incidents around the globe, say about our humanity?

This was a young child who was brutally beaten to death after leaving a bus and simply heading home from school.

Cassius Turvey has been robbed of his future, and his family will carry the pain of this theft throughout their lives and beyond.

There are suggestions that the brutal attack that took Cassius Turvey’s young life could be a case of mistaken identity, involving an attack on Brearley’s car during the days leading up to the attack on Cassius Turvey.

However, there is no evidence that Cassius Turvey was involved with the attack on Brearley’s car.

WA Police Commissioner, Col Blanch, reportedly told listeners of a Perth radio program as much.

Commissioner Blanch is reported as telling radio listeners that, ‘It may be a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.’

What? Being in the wrong place at the wrong time?

Does this suggest that there is a right place and a right time for such an attack?

Surely the brutal attack should be viewed by authorities as an attack that resulted in the loss of life of a young man who had so much to live for.

Claims of being in the wrong place at the wrong time is meaningless, and simply adds to the trauma and distress that family members and others experience.

Perhaps there are those who would argue that the murder of Ahmaud Arbery is yet another case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Commissioner Blanch is also reported as saying; ‘I want to be very clear, justice for Cassius is my first priority,’ he said. ‘The police must get this right’, he added.

Only time will tell if the police and the courts ‘get it right’, but history suggests that it can’t be left entirely to these public institutions, and that real and sustainable change and transformation only occurs when people speak out and exercise their considerable power.

The ongoing crisis that is Aboriginal deaths in custody, the case of murdered and missing Aboriginal women, the global rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and numerous other human rights abuses suffered by Aboriginal and other people of colour should be a source of shame and a call to action for all who are offended by such incidents, including politicians, and not just those who are members of the Aboriginal community.

The church and corporate leaders, indeed anyone who is committed to justice and the creation of a more just and equitable world must also stand and raise their voice to demand action.

A favourite time of year for young Cassius Turvey was reportedly Halloween, but tragically he won’t get to participate in events this year.

Vigils were held globally on Monday October 31, Halloween Day, and I attended one to stand in solidarity with Cassius’s family, friends and those who demand a world where kids can enjoy their childhood years, including being able to walk safely home from school.

Martin Luther King Jr reminds us that, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’

Professor Morgan is a Gumilaroi man from Walgett western NSW. He is a highly respected and acknowledged Aboriginal educator/researcher.

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  1. Thank you Prof. Bob Morgan. Great sadness and grief abounds that such a beautiful boy is no longer with us. We have to keep fighting racism on all levels and our leaders in society should take a very strong stance to address this. Civil society must stand up against this ongoing social horror. May he rest in a valley of love and blessings and his family know they are loved.

  2. “there is no evidence that Cassius Turvey was involved with the attack on Brearley’s car.” and there is no evidence that he wasn’t…. and if he was then all talk about racial prejudice, in the USA, or here, is a flight of fantasy. The story then is about out of control juvenile delinquents retribution. That of course would be outside the parameters of Bob’s only view point.
    Cheers, G”)

    • WTF Ken Retribution?? Unbelievable disgusting insensitivity. That is probably the most unfathomable nasty slur I’ve heard or seen about Cassius Turveys murder. The story is not about juvenile delinquents it’s about a horrible violent racist Murder. If you’d paid closer attention you’d have seen ample evidence he wasn’t involved in whatever minor minor damage happened to that murdering lunatics car. And even if he had been involved, that’ doesn’t make his murder retribution – it would still be a completely lawless unreasonable unjustifiable violent vigilante overreaction by a MAN beating up a BOY using a metal bar whilst yelling racist abuse at the victim and his friends. It seems racism is alive and well even in these here enlightened parts.

      As for “outside the parameters of Bob’s only viewpoint” there is no other viewpoint – unless you really are some kind of f-wit troll baiting for a response (congratulations) attempting to defend the indefensible while hiding behind a single-word pseudonym. Maybe keep your shameful dumb as dogshit comments to yourself

    • Dear Editor of the Echo,
      Why was this offensive rubbish printed? I’m stunned you saw fit to publish it. Even Fakebook & Twitter have stricter posting rules on such inaccurate racist accusations.
      The murder was heartbreaking, Prof Morgans article depressing, so why give these racist views oxygen?

  3. I surprised that a professor does not know that the phrase “in the wrong place at the wrong time” means that the victims actions played no part in the events.


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