Family of Clayton County basketball player who died after workout gets record settlement

CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. — The family of a Clayton County basketball player who died after participating in workout drills during extreme heat reached a record settlement with the school district.

Imani Bell’s family agreed to a $10 million settlement with Clayton County Schools. Attorneys for the Bell family says the settlement is one of the largest of its kind in high school athletics history. The gym at Elite Sports Academy will also be renamed in Bell’s memory at 4 p.m.

Channel 2′s Tom Jones has been following Bell’s case since his sources first told him about her death on Aug. 13, 2019.

Bell’s parents said the 16-year-old teen was forced to perform conditioning drills outdoors on one of the hottest days of the summer in 2019. The heat index made it even hotter.

A Georgia Bureau of Investigation autopsy from 2019 indicated Bell suffered from hyperthermia and rhabdomyolysis after exercising in temperatures that reached as high as 97 degrees with a heat index of 103 degrees.


Eric Bell, Imani’s father, told Jones the coaches were negligent and that someone needed to be held accountable. He said he is a coach as well and would never send his students into the searing heat that led to his daughter’s death.

In July 2021, a grand jury indicted Larosa Walker-Asekere and Dwight Palmer on second degree murder, child cruelty in the second degree, involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct. According to Bell’s family, Walker-Asekere and Palmer were two of her coaches.

Attorney Justin Miller said the charges were huge news since coaches aren’t usually charged after incidents like this.

“This is only the second time in history a coach has been charged in this way and the first time a coach has ever been charged with murder,” he said last August.