Note from BW of Brazil: You’ll never see these stories presented on any postcards promoting tourism in Brazil. And the reason is quite obvious. Before I get into this story, let me first acknowledge that, in all of my experiences in Brazil, rarely have I ever been treated in any manner that I don’t consider to be less than friendly or at least cordial by the Brazilian people. The few instances in which I was in an interaction that I didn’t appreciate, they were more annoying than anything else. But that is my personal experience as an American in Brazil. A status that gives me, even being black, a certain privilege. But the shocking story I present today has to do with a very troubling element that I find throughout the country among everyday people.
In an article from a few years ago, it was suggested that Brazil continues to have a certain nostalgia for the near four centuries of slavery in which people of African descent were beaten, whipped, punished and literally worked to death. How else do you explain a motel with rooms named after slave themes? Or a descendent of a plantation owner dressing up as a mistress and her employees as slaves in her tourist attraction home?
The more I learn about slavery in Brazil, the more revolting it is to know that me like me were treated in such a manner by other human beings. I say “other human beings” even though certain behavior makes one wonder about the label “human being”.
But although slavery ended in Brazil, at least officially, in 1888, about 131 years ago, the attitudes and social hierarchy in which certain groups are treated like people and otherws that are not remain to this day as if Princess Isabel had never signed the official document known as the Golden Law ending a brutal era of human bondage on May 13, 1888. But in many ways, the position of black people in the minds of many Brazilians today remains that of a race that should still be treated as if it were property instead of people that deserve the respect and dignity of any other group. While it is true that Brazilians can be some of the warmest, friendly people you will ever meet, there is also a very savage mentality that rears its ugly head from time to time.
It is true that any Brazilian can be the victim of such behavior, but worst of these assaults seem to be reserved for persons of visible African descent. Whether the attacks are perpetrated by black or white Brazilians, or those who are difficult classify in terms of race, in some ways it doesn’t matter. The point is, the worst treatment seems to always be directed at the black population. If we were to analyze this from a psychological perspective we could say that all Brazilians are more likely to attack black people based on the fact that society deems them as less worthy of being treated as citizens. After all, it hasn’t even been 150 years since black people were literally considered property and not much more.
We see these attitudes in the fact that 75% of murders perpetrated in Brazil are of people classified as non-white. We see it in the way the Military Police invade poor, black neighborhoods and communities and riddle these spaces with bullets with no regard as to who might be on the receiving end of those bullets. They don’t enter primarily white, middle to upper class neighborhoods in this same manner. Death squads that seem to be prevalent all over Brazil also target poor, black people that they label as society’s undesirables. And when the police and death squads aren’t contributing to extermination of black life, then we have vigilante citizens who will take justice into their own hands when they don’t feel police and security forces have done the job adequately.
There are simply too many examples for any argument that these are simply isolated cases. Such assaults aren’t even a main focus of this blog, but even so, here are just a few examples of this behavior over the past few years.
In the context of such an aggressive, violent society, today’s story simply adds to the wounds of Brazil’s already battered image. Another violated black male. Another case in which the punishment goes far beyond the crime and sometimes, even when there was no crime committed. We’ve seen this all too often.
Remember these stories?
From what I’ve seen in following “all things Brazil” for 19 years is that no one wants to deal with the racial element that influences one’s position in society. Bu if you clicked on any of the links above, what did you see? When I received the video featured in today’s story, my mind went immediately to the era of a time when black bodies were tied to the tronco (whipping post) for punishment. Even the 21st century, regardless of what the law says, in the minds of many, the whipping post continues to be where black bodies belong.
Young black man is tortured by supermarket security guards after attempted theft of chocolate
The video of the aggression where you can see the naked boy getting ‘lashed’ went viral on the internet
With information from EM and Gaúcha ZH
On one side, bags of onion. On the other, boxes of watermelons, vegetables and legumes. And in the center of the cubicle: a black, gagged, naked teenager. In private jail, the victim is placed in this position for a torture session. The scene resembles a stain still alive in the history of Brazil that became a nation with all kinds of abuse against the African population.
According to the Civil Police of Villa Joaniza, a disctrict in the extreme south of São Paulo, the 17-year-old was tied up, whipped and tortured after trying to steal a chocolate bar in Ricoy supermarkets. The security guards took the boy to the back of the supermarket, stripped him naked and beat him with lashes.
The boy testified after a 40-second viralizing video on the internet. In the strong images it is possible to see the teenager being tortured and assaulted several times. According to the victim, this is the third time that this type of aggression has occurred by the same security guards of the supermarket. The case was reported as torture by the 80th Police District and the two security guards were dismissed.
The whipping, as in the time of slavery, is directed at the young man’s back. There is no whipping post but a fascination for the attackers to record every scream of pain from the victim on video recorded on a mobile device. Torture advances. The strands hit the victim for the second time, writhing in pain. On the third lash, one of the attackers laughs and tells the teenager to turn around.
In a clear act of mockery, one of the attackers says: “Nothing was broken.” In carrying out the act, one of the attackers meant that when he warned the teenager, there were no bones that were affected.
The session didn’t end, as the victim seemed to believe. One of the attackers also warned:
“It’ll take one more (lashing) so we don’t kill you. Are you going to come back?”
The images ended up on social networks and forced police to open an inquiry on Monday (2) – a month after the incident.
“I went to get some chocolate. Then they took me, took me to a little room and gave me a whipping. Then they said that if I told someone they would kill me. They threatened me with death. That’s very bad,” said the young man, who didn’t file a police report in the month the crime occurred, which was July. The beating took place at the back of the unit located on Yervant Kissajikian Avenue in the Vila Joaniza district.
Threatened, the teenager was taken by a security guard named Santos and another by the name of Neto, to the back of the store and for about 40 minutes was tortured by the two. The victim states that he already knew the men, who are being sought by the police to testify.
“After being whipped, he was released by the attackers and declined to file a police report because he feared for his life,” police said.
According to the police report: “The victim was stripped, gagged, tied up and tortured with a braided harness. He was there for about forty minutes, being beaten the whole time.”
Living on the streets since the age of 12, the teenager had already been detained once for breaking into a residence and has served a socio-educational measure at the Fundação Casa, in institution that seeks to re-socialize young people in conflict with the law. He was accompanied by lawyer Ariel de Castro Alves, counselor of the State Human Rights Council (Condepe). The lawyer said that “I will be following the investigations and demanding the punishment of those responsible for these barbarous and cruel acts of torture.”
For Alves, the incident even shows “a certain sadism”.
Initially not filing a report on the incident, the teen now seeks justice. “I want justice against this, they did (something) evil. I want them behind bars,” said the victim in an interview with Globo TV.
Torture is a heinous crime and occurs when someone is subjected, with the use of violence or serious threat, to intense physical or mental suffering. Law 9455 of 1997 provides for sentences of 2-8 years for the accused.
The teenager will be subjected to body examinations on Tuesday. The Ademar City Guardian Council is also following the case and will request psychological assistance for the victim.
In a note, the supermarket said it was disgusted by the actions of the security guards and that they have already been removed from their duties. “The company is disgusted with this attitude and it was with indignation that it became aware of the facts through the report. That the company does not comply with any kind of illegality and will cooperate with the competent authorities involved in the investigation of the case in order to take the appropriate measures.”
With 50 stores, the Ricoy chain was created in the 1970s and spread to the eastern and southern extremes of São Paulo. In its institutional report, the network says its success is based on three things: entrepreneurship, management and seriousness.
The crime took hold of Twitter’s most talked about affairs on Tuesday afternoon. And some politicians like Guilherme Boulos, David Miranda and Jandira Feghari have posted their “indignations” about the case.
“The case of the young black man who was tied up and whipped by Ricoy market security guards in SP for trying to steal a chocolate is appalling. Brazilian social pathology gets worse every day. In addition to punishing those responsible, we must seriously consider what we have become.” – Guilherme Boulos (@GuilhermeBoulos) September 3, 2019
“The case of the 17-year-old boy whipped by security guards at a supermarket in the South Zone of São Paulo after being caught stealing chocolate is the radiograph of our crisis. When barbarism takes the place of justice it is a sign that we have gone backwards as a nation.” – Jandira Feghali (@jandira_feghali) September 3, 2019
“A young man was tortured in São Paulo for the theft of a chocolate bar. Inadmissible: another black body violated with the support of barbarism that plagues our country. We cannot accept nor normalize actions like these!” – David Miranda (@davidmirandario) September 3, 2019