A Black man has died after being attacked by two safety guards at a grocery store in southern Brazil, inflicting an uproar in a nation struggling to solid off its centuries-old follow of injustice and violence towards individuals of shade.
The incident, captured on cellphone video and posted to social media the place it is gone viral in South America’s most populous nation, has drawn comparisons in Brazil to the demise of George Floyd, who was killed by police in Minneapolis on Memorial Day.
The person, recognized by a number of Brazilian information retailers as 40-year-old João Alberto Silveira Freitas, was killed Thursday within the metropolis of Porto Alegre, the capital of Rio Grande do Sul state on Brazil’s southern border with Uruguay.
His demise comes as Brazil, very similar to the USA, is grappling with a protracted historical past of structural racism and mistreatment of Black Brazilians by legislation enforcement.
Including to the widespread outrage over Freitas’ demise is that it occurred on the eve of that nation’s observance of Black Consciousness Day.
Reporting from Rio de Janeiro, NPR’s Philip Reeves notes that Freitas’ demise additionally comes within the wake of the unsolved homicide of a distinguished Black politician and activist, and quite a few killings of younger Brazilians of shade in favelas by police.
“After the George Floyd killings, the nonetheless unsolved homicide of Rio metropolis politician and Black activist Marielle Franco, and numerous killings by cops of younger Black Brazilians in favelas, racist violence is already a large supply of ache and anger right here.
“There’s an avalanche of on-line anger, from Black activist teams, politicians and lots of others. It occurred after Freitas reportedly had some form of altercation with a grocery store worker,” Reeves stories.
On social media, video clips of the encounter present Freitas being lifted from his ft and dropped to the bottom, earlier than repeatedly being struck within the head. One of many safety guards seems to carry Freitas’ arms down, whereas the opposite pummels him at the very least a dozen occasions throughout a 10-second video.
Fretas is screaming as a retailer worker standing close by recorded the beating on a cellphone.
One of many guards captured within the video was a brief army police officer who was off-duty, in line with The Related Press.
The incident passed off after a confrontation between Freitas and an worker on the grocery store, who then referred to as safety, the AP notes, citing the native information outlet G1.
Carrefour, the enormous French multinational company which owns the shop, launched an announcement lamenting Freitas’ “brutal demise,” including that it’s going to “undertake the suitable measures to carry the individuals chargeable for this prison act.”
Eduardo Leite, the Governor of Rio Grande do Sol, tweeted that Friday ought to have been a day to rejoice progress within the push for racial equality, however as an alternative was marked by violence and the lack of lifetime of a Black citizen.
He vowed on Friday that the incident can be investigated. He stated each safety guards have been detained.
Former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva additionally took to social media, denouncing racism, including that it’s “pressing” that its cycle be interrupted.
For his half, Brazil’s Vice President Hamilton Mourão stated on Friday that Freitas’ demise was “lamentable,” however insisted, “no Brasil não existe racismo” in line with G1, which interprets as “racism doesn’t exist in Brazil.”