Mother of Dead High School Basketball Player Troy Causey Sues DISD, Dallas County

Tammy Simpson announces her lawsuit outside the Dallas federal courthouse.
Tammy Simpson announces her lawsuit outside the Dallas federal courthouse.
Joe Tone

Troy Causey, the Wilmer-Hutchins basketball player beaten to death outside his home one year ago today, should never have been in the situation that led to his death, his mother says.

Causey was improperly recruited to play basketball at Wilmer-Hutchins while he was in the custody of the Dallas County Juvenile Department at the Dallas County Youth Village, Tammy Simpson claims in a lawsuit filed late Wednesday in federal court. The county gave inappropriate access to John Burley, Wilmer-Hutchins basketball coach, Simpson says, allowing Burley to visit Causey at Youth Village without supervision despite regulations limiting visits to lawyers and family members. Additionally, Johnathan Turner, the Madison High School basketball player indicted for Causey's killing, was also recruited during Turner's time at the Youth Village, Simpson says.

DISD coaches recruited kids in Dallas County custody, according to the suit, because of lax policies toward recruitment and the lack of immediate parental involvement. Students could be manipulated easily because of circumstances, Simpson says.

Causey and Turner, upon release from Youth Village, were placed in a home together without adequate adult supervision, leading to the fight that killed Causey, the suit says. The district and department's "conscious indifference" to the risks inherent to take kids fresh from the juvenile justice system, moving them out of their home school district, and having them live together, Simpson says, constituted of a violation of her son's 14th Amendment equal protection rights.

As documented for the Observer by Eric Nicholson in January, the process that cleared Causey and Turner to play for schools that had apparently recruited them to play basketball, in clear violation of DISD and University Interscholastic League rules, amounted to a rubber-stamp. Historically, the District Executive Committee, which approves transfer eligibility, has been loathe to keep transfers from playing because of the close-knit community of coaches, school administrators and athletics officials that sits on the committee. At a press conference announcing the lawsuit Tuesday, Causey's family said DISD's culture of improper recruiting was still rampant.

See also: Anita Connally Got Dallas ISD to Crack Down on Sports Corruption, and Then She Got Fired

We've left messages with DISD and Dallas County and will update this post with any response.

Troy Causey Lawsuit


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