Two high school basketball coaches at Georgia were each charged with murder and cruelty to children in the 2019 death of a player who suffered a heat stroke while training outside in hot temperatures.
Head Coach Larosa Maria Walker-Asekere and Assistant Coach Dwight Broom Palmer face second degree murder and second degree cruelty to children charges after an indictment by a grand jury them found responsible for the death of Imani Bell, a 16-year-old student at the Elite Scholars Academy, L’Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PLAYER COLLAPSES DURING TRAINING, LATER DECREASED IN HOSPITAL
Walker-Asekere and Palmer were changed after the grand jury ruled on July 1, citing “outdoor conditioning training for student-athletes in dangerous heat, resulting in the death of Imani Bell due to ‘hyperthermia and rhabdomyolysis’.
Imani was participating in compulsory conditioning drills for the women’s basketball team on August 13, 2019, when she collapsed after climbing the steps of the football stadium, said a lawsuit filed in February against administrators of school. According to FOX 29, Imani collapsed shortly after “reporting she was in distress.”
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The temperature that day was around 90 degrees and the area was subject to a heat advisory. She died the same day of heat-related cardiac arrest and kidney failure.
According to the Journal-Constitution, the school may have violated district policy that requires schools to suspend outdoor sports when the heat index is above 95 degrees Fahrenheit. By the day Imani died, the heat index had reached 106.
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“The point of the case is the charge, not just the charges,” Justin Miller, an attorney for the girl’s family, said Tuesday.
Walker-Asekere and Palmer were also charged with manslaughter and reckless driving.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.