Ivan Romano speaks to TV Bandeirantes after being assaulted
‘They said they would kill me’, says black man assaulted by white youths in Embu, SP
Truck driver assistent was beaten in Embu das Artes on Saturday. Department of Justice will investigate the complaint of racism.
Yet another stunning example of Brazil’s anti-black sentiments was caught on video for all the world to see. Whenever I hear or in this case, see these types of things, I always approach the incident from the perspective of Brazil’s self-image. There are those who continue to insist that racism doesn’t exist in Brazil. There are those that say that while racism does exist in Brazil, it is clearly not as bad as in the US. And finally, there are those that say that racism is veiled or disguised in Brazil. After watching this brief, edited video, I would ask anyone who believes in those mythologies, what part of the game is this? And let’s not be fooled into thinking this was simply an isolated incident. There are reports of racial hostility, insults and attacks that come out of Brazil every day. Need proof? Check out the previous entries in this blog!
For now, let’s get to the details of the video (in Portuguese). Everything in the video is explained below.
Ivan Romano, 43, a truck driver’s assistant, was beaten by two white men in a downtown plaza of the city of Embu das Artes in suburban São Paulo. Romano revealed that he was afraid of dying as a result of the five minute assault. Even with the swollen face and body pains, he recalled the incident that happened on Tuesday, March 20th and stated that he was a victim of racism. Romano was only saved because his girlfriend, Natália Gonçalves, 46, called the police, who quickly arrived on the scene. The City Hall’s surveillance cameras recorded the crime.
“They said they would kill me. They said: ‘Now we’ll kill you, you black monkey’. They stepped on my head and said: ‘Now, monkey, you’re gonna die,’” said Romano.”Think of a humiliated man: they cursed at me, kicked me, stepped on my head. I pretended that I passed out, but they continued.” Romano said that his attackers also referred to him as a vagabond, a damned negro, lazy and maloqueiro*.
The attack happened at about 2am on Saturday (March 17th) in a square in the center of Embu das Artes. The couple said that usually frequent the site, which is usually quiet. The two were out on a date in the square when the two men arrived. According to the couple, the assault began for no apparent reason.
Wellinton Rodrigues Pereira, 23, and Vinicius de Almeida, 19, were arrested for the assault on Romano
“They started humiliating me, calling me black monkey, all of that racism. Punches in the head, kicking… I tried to run, but even so they came after me. I just ran because she [the girlfriend] was close to me, so that they didn’t go after her,” Romano said.
“They walked up and they were already up on him, wanting to fight with him, one took off took his sweatshirt. I tried to get in the middle, but to no avail. As I couldn’t (break it up), I called for help, so that it didn’t get worse”, said the girlfriend of the victim. “It was good that she ran, or they would go after her too. I only ran because I scared that something would happen to her”, Romano added.
Ivan shows his face swollen after the attack (Photo: Juliana Cardilli/G1)
The images captured by the cameras of the City Hall showed when Ivan was sitting with his girlfriend between a few plants in the square. Two men arrived and started arguing with him. One of them ripped off his sweatshirt and then the aassault began.
The victim managed to escape and run into another street, but he was chased and beaten even more. One of the assailants even fell after hitting the victim, who appeared to be unconscious. The attackers went away, but one of them came back to get the shirt. They were then apprehended by police.
The two young men resisted the police and the officers had to use force, with a club, to control them. Natália recognized the attackers, who were taken to the police station.
Ivan with girlfriend, Natália
Romano eventually fainted during the beating, and only woke up when he was in the hospital. “I didn’t know where I was. I’m just happy to be alive”, he said, standing with his face swollen, and scars on his forehead and neck, and still feeling body pains. He said the doctors found no fractures.
The truck driver’s assistant said he had never been a victim of such violence. For the couple, the arrest of these young people should serve as an example so that similar cases don’t happen. “Let them own up to what they did, because just like they did to me, tomorrow someone else can do it (to them),” said Romano.
The two youths were arrested in the act of attempted murder and resisting arrest. In a statement, the two said the fight started with a discussion, but did not suggest a motive. The police will also investigate whether they committed the crime of racism. The two were transferred to the Centro de Detenção Provisória (CDP or Provisional Detention Center) of Itapecerica da Serra, in São Paulo, on Monday (19).
Department of Justice
The Secretary of Justice in São Paulo filed a complaint that may result in administrative proceedings against the perpetrator. The complaint is the responsibility of the Coordenação de Políticas Públicas para a População Negra e Indígena (Coordenation of Public Policy for the Black and Indigenous Population) and was initiated independently of the manifestation of the victim.
After being filed, and going through the scrutiny of the Secretary of Justice, the complaint is judged by a prosecuting Commission. The sentence can range from a warning to fines.
* – In some Brazilian states, maloqueiro refers to someone who lives in the slums or poor areas, in other states it can mean a gang member or someone that is looked down upon in society.