Two Georgia basketball coaches have been charged with murder after a 16-year-old player collapsed during an outdoor basketball practice in 100-degree weather.
According to ABC News 13, an Atlanta-area grand jury indicted the coaches, Larosa Walker-Asekere and Dwight Palmer last month, and charged them Tuesday (August 10) with second-degree murder, second-degree child cruelty and in the death of Imani Bell.
Bell was a junior at Elite Scholars Academy in Clayton County when she collapsed during a summer conditioning practice for the girls’ basketball team on August 13, 2019. A lawsuit filed by the teen’s family said she suffered from a heat stroke while running up stadium steps as temperatures rose to the high 90s and the area was under a heat advisory.
Bell died later that day from heat-related cardiac arrest and kidney failure, the lawsuit says. The coaches are also facing involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct charges over Bell’s death.
Walker-Askere was the head basketball coach at the time, while Palmer was an assistant, the family’s attorney Justin Miller, told NBC News. Both were in charge of the children that day, Miller told The Associated Press.
“The incident in question did not have to happen,” Miller said during a news conference on Wednesday (August 11). Chris Stewart, another attorney for the family said in February that a heat advisory for the area at the time of Bell’s death warned that outdoor activity should be limited because of the heat index, which reportedly reached between 106 and 108 degrees.
The wrongful death lawsuit Bell’s family filed against the school administrators remains ongoing.