João Alberto Silveira Freitas, a 40-year-old black man, was beaten to death by security guards at a Carrefour in Porto Alegre on Thursday night (19).
Videos showing the beating in front of the store and the attempt by rescuers to save the man, known as Beto, circulated on social networks and provoked a mobilization against racism.
Beto died on the eve of Black Awareness Day, celebrated this Friday (20) in reference to the death of Zumbi, the leader of Quilombo dos Palmares, located between Alagoas and Pernambuco.
For his father, João Batista Rodrigues Freitas, 65, his son's death was an episode of racism. "It was an episode of racism. Just look at the strength of the aggression. First thing I asked was, was he stealing? If not, why be beaten? And why be beaten brutally by security guards? In fact, I can't call them security guards because that degrades professionals who are real security guards," he said.
Friends of Beto report that the market environment had a history of a hostile environment for fans of São José, a football club near Carrefour. The man was a fan of Zequinha.
Roberta Bertoldo, delegate responsible for the investigation of the homicide, said that it is not racism but did not explain the reason. The investigation investigates the motivation for the attacks.
Vice President Hamilton Mourão regretted the death and said that he did not think it was caused by racism.
"It is unfortunate that there. At first, security is totally unprepared for the activity you have to do," he said.
Asked if he considered that the episode showed a problem of racism in Brazil, Mourão replied: "No, for me in Brazil, there is no racism. This is something they want to import; it does not exist here. I tell you with ease, there's no racism."
Through its press office, Carrefour defined the death as brutal and announced that it would break the contract with the company responsible for security. It also said that it would fire the employee responsible for the store at the time of the incident.
Translated by Kiratiana Freelon