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Two High School Basketball Coaches Charged With Murder After Teen Girl Collapsed During Practice

 During an outdoor practice in extreme heat, a fatal accident has two Georgia basketball coaches being charged with murder.


A grand jury recently delivered an indictment charging Larosa Maria Walker-Asekere and Dwight Broom Palmer. They reside in Clayton County, both charged with second-degree murder, second-degree child cruelty, involuntary manslaughter, and reckless conduct.



These charges are related to the death of Imani Bell. This student attended Elite Scholars Academy and died after a girls' basketball practice in sweltering weather during August 2019. Temperatures had reached the high 90s.


Walker-Asekere was the head basketball coach, and Palmer was an assistant, according to the family's attorney Justin Miller. Both were at the practice and had been in charge of the children.



The family and attorneys thanked the district attorney for pursuing charges during a news briefing on Wednesday.


"The incident in question did not have to happen," Miller said.


Court documents do not list attorneys for Palmer or Walker-Asekere, and neither could be reached at the phone numbers listed for them.



Following Bell's tragic death in February, her family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the school officials. It alleges the basketball team was doing a conditioning drill when Bell collapsed after running up the football stadium steps.



The suit said that the high school junior started "experiencing early signs of heat illness and was visibly struggling to perform the outdoor conditioning drills physically." Coaches told her to continue practicing, it alleged.



Bell was struggling so much that she had to hold "onto the railing to remain upright."


"As Imani neared the top of the stadium steps, she suddenly collapsed and lost consciousness due to the extreme heat and humidity," the lawsuit stated.



The school staff escorted the teenager into the building and dialed 911.


She died of heat-related cardiac arrest and kidney failure after she was transported to the hospital. According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation autopsy, her death was due to heatstroke caused by intensive physical exertion in severe heat.


According to the lawsuit, the Jonesboro region's heat index was between 101 and 106 degrees. Atlanta is approximately 20 miles south of Jonesboro.



The complaint claims that a heat advisory was issued for the region. The plaintiffs' counsel held the defendants responsible for not considering weather conditions and not following sports association standards set by the Georgia High School Association.


Outdoor practices should not be held when the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) measurement reaches 92, as stated in the organization's online regulations. The WBGT considers temperature, humidity, wind speed, sun angle, and cloud cover.


Before each practice, coaches should verify your readings and make sure they haven't changed.


According to the lawsuit, on the day of the basketball practice, the defendants did not check the WBGT. This lawsuit is still ongoing.


Eric Bell, Imani's father, is a coach nearby at another school. He canceled his practice that day because the "WBGT reading was too high," Bell stated at Wednesday's news conference.


Whether or not the coaches at Elite Scholars Academy are still working is unclear. On Wednesday, no news was available from the district, or Clayton County Public Schools, on their job status.


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4 Comments


MR PUNCHOUT
MR PUNCHOUT
Aug 13, 2021

Sad story but this system let's them people off for leaving their children in a hot car to die everyday! This was clearly an accident but they trying to throw the book at those 2 black coaches smh!

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miamisnoopy305
miamisnoopy305
Aug 12, 2021

Damn... sad story all around. Tbh, I have mixed feelings. My heart breaks for the victim's family. But I also kinda feel for the coaches from the standpoint that it looks like the prosecutor is trying to throw the book at them, which is what always happens when we gettin charged. There should be some criminal repercussions for their negligence and they shouldn't be allowed to work in any profession that involves coaching children. But second degree murder can carry a sentence up to life, and that feels a bit excessive. But on the other hand, a child lost her life... so maybe it's not. Prayin for all parties tho.

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blaqdahlia2
blaqdahlia2
Aug 12, 2021

Wow. …. this is super sad and tragic.

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BFFTV
BFFTV
Aug 12, 2021
Replying to

It is and can happen to anyone

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