Note from BW of Brazil: So really, when can black Brazilians get justice, or at least get a break? In a news story that has been in the headlines for the past few weeks, an actor who also has a job and a degree in Psychology was arrested and kept in a detention center for an assault and robbery that he didn’t commit. OK, so we know that robberies DO indeed happen every day. It’s a fact that cannot be denied. But what caught my attention was the description of the assailant described by the victim and the man police forced to get face down on the street not matching. The clothes didn’t match but the actor was black and had an afro. In police lingo, that’s close enough! Wow, Brazil. We have black men being tied to poles, a soap opera portraying a black woman being savagely raped on TV and constant reports of racism. So this is what it’s like being black in Brazil, huh?
Please see the video reports at the bottom (in Portuguese). One video features a re-enactment cartoon of the incident (21-39 second mark), the second video features journalist Luciana Barreto.
After spending 16 days in jail for a crime he didn’t commit, actor/psychologist is freed in Rio
by Luisa Girão, Elias Alfredo and MC WF with contributions from Metro Curitiba
The psychologist and actor Vinícius Romão, 27, mistakenly arrested two weeks ago, was released in the early afternoon of Wednesday (26) from a prison in São Gonçalo, in Rio de Janeiro. Excited, he left without waving and talking to the press. He then got in his father’s car and headed home.
Vinícius was part of the cast of the novela (soap opera) Lado a Lado, in 2012. Possessing a degree in psychology, he worked as a salesman in a mall, when he accused of robbing a woman of R$10 and a public transportation card.
The victim of the assault had identified the actor, but realized her error in identification, according to the delegate that handled the case Niandro Lima. In recent days, friends and relatives of Vinicius started an internet campaign to denounce the arrest, since no object of the victim was found on him. According to his attorney, videos prove that he was not the assailant. The actor would spend 16 days in jail for a crime that he didn’t commit and upon release denounced the precarious conditions and inhumane treatment he received at the Cadeia Pública Patrícia Acioli in São Gonçalo of metropolitan Rio de Janeiro.
The actor revealed that he shared a cell with another 15 people, accused of drug trafficking and aggressions against women.
“I slept on the floor on a cardboard. Water came four times per day, when they gave us the opportunity to take a bath for ten minutes. I drank water in these moments. I don’t see how people can come out of there better than when they came in.”
Vinicius’s family is still considering filing a suit against the state. Meanwhile, the actor will respond to the accusation of robbery and cannot leave Rio.
This is Vinicius Romão, 27, a psychologist, an actor that currently works in Toulon stores in Norteshopping. On Monday, February 17, as he does every day at leaving work at 10pm, he headed toward Rua Amaro Cavalcanti (street) when he approached by a vehicle of the 3rd Battalion PMERJ, the Military Police arrogantly ordered him to stop and lie face down, with a gun pointed at his head, and arrested him without any proof, only the accusation of a woman in tears, who was near location, accusing a black man with “cabelo black (afro)” in shorts and shirtless of having beaten her and stolen her belongings. The police took hom to the 25 Precinct, where a new “recognition” was made by the alleged victim, a kitchen maid who works at the Pasteur Hospital. This confrontation between “supposed” accused and victim, was made without any police technical criteria, only on a “face to face” basis, not to mention as assessment.
Vinicius was immediately imprisoned, and later taken to the Patrícia Acioli House of Detention, in São Gonçalo, in the Metropolitan Region of São Gonçalo. He is unable to receive visitors, and no possibility of defense; he could be transferred at any time to another prison in the state. Security cameras near the pseudo assault show that the thief was another man in shorts and no shirt while Romão wore a black shirt and pants. In reality, this crime against the right to come and go and the defense of rights which is attributable to the young psychologist; it’s nothing more than a public case of racism, because at that hour he was, only because of being black, was accused and arrested due to this ethnic detail.
After the woman who accused Vinícius Romão de Souza, 26, testified and admitted having made a mistake in her recognition, the Toulon company where the actor works says that his job was guaranteed. He is an employee of the official brand in Norte Shopping, in the north zone of Rio de Janeiro. “The company sent its lawyer Dr Francisco Jose for a visit on behalf of Toulon DESIPE, since only lawyers can see Vinicius at the moment. Upon contacting the family, in the person of Jair, the actor’s father, Dr. Francisco learned that an attorney, Dr Rubens, had already been contacted to handle the release of Vinicius. The company then made itself available to provide documents, witnesses and anything else needed to help elucidate the episode. Toulon says Vinicius is indeed an employee, salesperson and works in the store in Norte Shopping (Mall),” said a spokesperson of the brand.
Understand the case
According to the newspaper O Globo, Vinicius Romão de Souza, 27, has been incarcerated since last February 10, after leaving the shop where he works and being accosted by two policemen. The actor, who was arrested on Rua Amaro Cavalcanti, in the Meier region of Rio de Janeiro, was charged with assault by a kitchen domestic from the Pasteur Hospital. He was forced to lie face down on the ground and was taken to the 25th Precinct, where he was recognized by the victim.
According to Vinicius’s lawyer, Rubens Nogueira de Abreu, cameras of hospital security and surrounding buildings show that the real thief, who was also black, was wearing only shorts, while Vinicius wore pants and a black shirt. He said he has already filed an application for bail, which has not yet been assessed by the Court . The actor remains detained at the Patrícia Acioli Detention House São Gonçalo, where he was taken on the 11th of February.
The arrest of Vinicius gained wide exposure on the Internet, as friends of the actor campaigned for his release and said he was the victim of prejudice.
On Tuesday, 25, the delegate Niandro Lima, head of the 25th Precinct (Engenho Novo), told Extra that the woman who accused the actor Vinicius Romão de Souza, 27, testified for more than an hour and admitted having made a mistake in recognition. The police said that it will inform the Court about the incident.
Actor accused of robbery will be released
Actor imprisoned due to false identification will be freed on Wednesday