Note from BW of Brazil: This is a follow-up to a report posted here yesterday afternoon. When I first heard about this story, the first thing that came to mind was the infamous strangling death of 43-year old Eric Garner in New York back in 2014. As the treatment of the black population in both the United States and Brazil is so similar, how could I not? Often times, when I first hear about a new incident, instead of rushing to cover the story immediately, I choose to wait because details are sometimes a little murky; this case is an example of this. First reports said that 19-year old Pedro Henrique de Oliveira Gonzaga had attempted to steal something from one of the locations of the Extra super-center chain. In the mayhem that ensued, a security put him a choke hold and then on top of him leading to his suffocation. But was that what really happened? Below are more details about the story. My thoughts will be interspersed between the stories.
Security denies ‘mata-leão’ (choke hold) and says young man that died was ‘pretending’ to faint
In testimony, Davi Ricardo Moreira Amâncio, who paid R$ 10,000 in bail and will response charges of homicide in freedom, reports that he was putting weight on Pedro Henrique Gonzaga and didn’t get off of him because “he realized that he was pretending”
By Maria Inez Magalhães
Davi Ricardo Moreira Amâncio was filmed putting Pedro Henrique de Oliveira Gonzaga in ‘mata-leão’ (headlock/choke hold). After paying bail of R$ 10,000, security Davi Ricardo Moreira Amâncio was released.
In testimony at the Police Department of Homicide, he denied that he had put Pedro Henrique Gonzaga in a choke hold, only putting his weight on him to contain him until police arrived. He also said that the young man tried to grab his gun and that he came to the conclusion that he “simulated” fainting, so that he would let him go.
Davi denied that he was a trained fighter and said that he has been with the Groupe Protection company for a year and four months. According to the statement, the confusion began at 12:30 p.m. when Davi was at the main entrance of the market. He had started working half an hour before.
The security officer says that, for no apparent reason, Pedro ran towards him, and that he asked the young man not to approach, stretching his arm out to keep him from getting close. However, according to the report, Pedro fell to the ground and began to struggle.
Davi said that he thought the victim was ill and that he gave first aid by laying the victim on his side, but “he realized that he was pretending and that he didn’t have any problem.”
Still according to the testimony, security reported that the young man stood up and another security guard, identified as Edmilson Felix, approached in reinforcement. In the testimony, Davi said that the victim’s mother, Dinalva Santos de Oliveira, approached him saying that his son was a drug user and that, at that moment, Pedro “had a fit of fury against him and that both fell to the ground, with him falling on Pedro.”
The accused says that at that time the holster where his weapon was broke and that Pedro approached to grab it, “threatening to kill people”.
Security said Pedro was very agitated and shouted “I’m going to kill! I’m going to kill.”
The victim, according to security, was restrained by Edmilson, who managed to take the weapon from him. Davi also said that he stayed on top of the young man to restrain him and that at this moment Pedro “simulated fainting and started arguing again,” but that he intended to restrain him until the police came, and that he only let go when he thought he was no longer struggling, but thought that Pedro was faking him to get him off of him, as he had done before.
A family friend who was a witness said in a statement on the day of the incident that Dinalva contacted her to report that her son had used drugs and that he needed help to get him to a rehab clinic. But since Dinalva didn’t show up at the time, she sought her out and learned of Pedro’s death.
At 00:24-0:55 mark of news report, store security camera images are shown
She also said that Dinalva said that her son had had an outbreak and went up to security which led to a struggle, in which at one point the security weapon was on the ground near her son and that she warned others not to let her son pick up the gun.
“He’s fainting, isn’t he?” someone asked. “You’re suffocating him,” one woman said. “His hand is purple,” said another. The security guard, however, didn’t let go of the young man’s neck and shouted: “Cala boca” (shut up).
Extra re-positioned itself on Friday on the episode, lamenting the episode and reaffirming that those involved were “definitely removed” and that it “doesn’t accept any act of violence”. Now, the hypermarket has classified the case as “a serious one.”
“The chain will not be exempt from the responsibilities before the event, being the most interested in clarifying the situation as soon as possible. In this way, it’s collaborating with the authorities and contributing all available information. The company initiated an internal investigation to follow up with the security company and the competent bodies on the progress of the investigations.
Extra will continue to contribute to the investigation and ensure that it will take all appropriate measures in view of the outcome of the investigation. We add that, regardless of the outcome of the facts, nothing justifies the loss of a life and the company is in solidarity with the family and those involved”, says part of the note.
Note from BW of Brazil: A few things jumped out at me from the story above. First of all, in the security guard’s side of the story, I didn’t see any reference to Pedro having attempted to steal something from the store as initially report. The second thing is, I still don’t quite understand what caused Gonzaga to fall to the ground the first time. Was he on some sort of drug trip? According to witnesses and his stepfather, Gonzaga used drugs but I haven’t found information on the type of drugs he was on. Was it crack? Was it just some marijuana? The third thing is that, again, according to the information, Gonzaga’s mother didn’t want her son to get his hands on the security guard’s gun, almost as if she was more concerned with what her son would do with a gun in his than the security guard. This says something considering the brutality that security and police agents use against young men with Gonzaga’s profile: young, black and poor. The fourth thing is that, from the video, I didn’t see Amâncio put Gonzaga in a choke hold as previously reported. The fifth thing I question here is, there were two security guards on the scene. As such, even if we are to believe that Gongaza was making some sort of threat, two security guards could have easily controlled Gongaza without having to put him into a hold that could suffocate him. Also, as there were witnesses on the scene, I haven’t read anyone else confirm that Gonzaga threatened to kill anyone. Sixth, according to another source, Amâncio said that Gonzaga was “pretending” to have an epileptic seizure, but Gonzaga’s mother said that he was having an “outbreak”, which could mean he in fact was having a seizure. If that is the case, he was not “pretending” as the security guard believed at the time. Pedro Henrique de Oliveira Gonzaga leaves behind an eight month old baby.
Security guard that killed young in supermarket is a Bolsonaro supporter
Davi Ricardo Moreira Amancio, who suffocated Pedro Henrique Araújo, was arrested in the act, but left the Homicide Office in Rio de Janeiro at dawn on Friday (15)
Courtesy of DCM
Security guard Davi Ricardo Moreira Amancio, that suffocated Pedro Henrique Araújo, at the Extra supermarket in Barra da Tijuca, in Rio de Janeiro, voted for Bolsonaro. He was indicted for manslaughter.
The profile photo of Davi on Facebook says: “Sou amapaense e sou Bolsonaro”, meaning he is from the north state of Amapá and supports Bolsonaro.
Note from BW of Brazil: The section above attempts to make a connection with the security guard and the aggressive behavior of supporters of newly elected President Jair Bolsonaro. It is intriguing that the security guard who ended up killing a man has a photo of himself aiming a gun on his social network profile. Such information may be relevant but only if it can proven that Amancio is known to have an aggressive personality or has a history of assaulting people either in the street or on the job as a security guard.
Video Proves That Young Man Murdered At Extra Didn’t Try To Grab Security Guard’s Weapon
Video of the security camera at the Extra supermarket shows that there was no attempt by Pedro Henrique Araujo, 19, to grab the gun of the establishment’s security, Davi Ricardo Moreira Amancio, who killed him this Friday in the Extra Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro.
Renê Silva, editor in chief of the Voz das Comunidades website, shared the video on social networks.
“Exclusive images from #RJTV @RedeGlobo show that the guy fell to the ground twice and was not trying to grab the security guard’s gun. “Now what?”, asked the communicator and activist, ending his comment with the hashtag, #VidasNegrasImportam (Black Lives Matter)
Note from BW of Brazil: I would like to agree with what Silva is claiming here (that Gonzaga didn’t try to grab Amancio’s gun) but I can’t because the images from the security camera simply aren’t clear enough to confirm this. On the other hand, according to a report, Gonzaga’s mother reportedly was heard saying not to let her son get his hands on the gun. This doesn’t necessarily mean he grabbed the gun, but that somehow the gun got loose on the ground.
After death of young man caused by security guard, protest is scheduled in boycott against Extra supermarket
Courtesy of Alma Preta
A demonstration was called on social networks this Sunday (17) in Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, in a boycott against the Extra supermarket where Pedro Henrique Gonzaga, 19, was murdered by a security guard of the establishment, on Thursday (14).
In the event created on Facebook, no group has identified itself as the organizer of the demonstration, but the action already has hundreds of people confirmed. According to the note of the call to the act, it’s necessary that the supermarket chain does more than open an investigation on the murder.
“We demand that this man be fired. May this family receive compensation,” they exalt in the social network. The training of professionals who take care of market security was also questioned in the text of the call to action.
“Acts of racism become recurrent in the Brazilian news, young black people have their lives mowed down by any ‘misunderstanding’. We know that this is a consequence of Structural Racism and we want effective measures of training on racism for employees,” said the text.
VIC LIMA@DESORDEMDODIA: Left, Eric Garner, 43 years, murdered by NYPD police in 2014. To the right, Pedro Gonzaga, 19, murdered by security of extra yesterday. Racismo destruindo vidas negras todos os dias (racism destroying black lives every day). Revolting. Shameful. Unacceptable. #VidasNegrasImportam (BLACK LIVES MATTER)
In Brazil, according to the final report of the Senate’s Parliamentary Investigation Commission (CPI) on the Murder of Young People, every year 23,100 black youths aged 15 to 29 are murdered. That’s 63 a day. One every 23 minutes.
Note from BW of Brazil: In the end, this case is still too murky to come to any clear conclusions. The security cameras don’t show us that Gonzaga clearly tried grab the security guard’s gun and we also cannot clearly see a choke hold. As there is no audio, we cannot confirm any verbal exchange between the security guard and Gonzaga nor if Gonzaga threatened kill anyone. The only thing I can say here is that Gonzaga didn’t deserve to die in this scenario. With two security guards on the scene, it would have been easy to immobilize him without having to put him in a position where he couldn’t breathe and thus add to an alarming statistic: Another black male, aged 18-29, murdered.