Note from BW of Brazil: This is a followup report of a savage lynching that happened earlier this month in the northeastern state of Maranhão. Vigilante lynchings have long been a problem in Brazil as we’ve seen a number of headline-making cases over the past few years. In general, in a society in which many feel public officials don’t protect the interests of common people, frustrations mount and people that often feel powerless against crime are led to take actions into their own hands. A number of these lynchings victimize persons who are thought to be repeated perpetrators of crime with long prior police records and as the perceived criminals aren’t brought to justice, popular “payback” is often fatal. A controversial journalist from the SBT TV network provoked outrage last year when it seemed that she endorsed this sort of vigilant action. But what happens when the victim doesn’t have such a record and in fact has no priors? This is the question that arose after this latest lynching earlier this month.
One other detail that should be pointed out here is that a video of this brutal murder surfaced shortly afterward showing images of numerous persons who apparently participated in the murder (see below). Many of the people appear to be black as was the victim. Although these men are seen in the video, the jury is still out on who exactly kicked and beat the man to death, but if they are in fact Afro-Brazilians, it just goes to show that when an oppressed race doesn’t see value in itself, it has no problem taking the life of someone from their own group.
Man who died after lynching in Maranhão had no prior police record
By Luã Marinatto
Cleidenilson lived in a humble house in the João de Deus neighborhood with his father, his stepmother, Maria, and a stepbrother, her son. In the back, on a slab of cement and between unpainted bricks, the space that the family planned to turn into rooms for the boys seems to emphasize the void.
“I have no more coffee in the morning, because I know he would have. At that time (late afternoon), he would arrive with freshly baked bread,” says Maria, again without controlling tears.
If it caught his parents by surprise, the attempted robbery also perplexed the neighborhood, where Cleidenilson was loved – friends packed a chartered bus, on Tuesday, to attend the funeral. The overall impression that was his first foray into the world of crime is reinforced by the authorities: he never stood in court for any offense, nor had priors with the police.
The investigation into the lynching also didn’t corroborate, up to the moment, the version that the weapon carried by Cleidenilson only wasn’t triggered by a defect in the equipment, which has not yet to be examined. Meanwhile, Antonio demonstrates to executioners of his son mercy to which he was not entitled.
“May they have peace in their heart, not to do it again.”
Cleidenilson’s stepmother, Maria José Pires, commented on the lynching.
What is the family feeling at the moment?
All that we ask now is that there is justice. I don’t want revenge, I don’t want any of that, because I don’t have this heart. May the police find out who did it, and he pays before the law, may he go to jail. I don’t even want to think about killing anyone.
Did you see the photos showing Cleidenilson tied to the post?
It’s everywhere, you know (she shows a newspaper that presents on the cover an image of the young man bloody and naked). And it hurts very hurt. You don’t know how my son’s head was, all broken, all tied up. I don’t know how to accept it (Maria cries). He was tied up like an animal. The outrage is not so much the death, but the way it happened.
The scene was compared to the times of slavery…
For me, it makes perfect sense. That’s what we want, people tied up on a post, beaten? Could it be that we want this to come back? I don’t even know if these people are really human, because it’s something that you don’t do.
What would you say to those who killed Cleidenilson?
I wonder how they manage to eat … How are they sleeping? How do they bathe? How will look at that post and remember what they did to Cleidenilson? If he did something wrong, grab him and call him the police in order that justice condemn him. That’s it.
“How are they putting their head on the pillow?” asks family of lynched man in Maranhão
By Luã Marinatto
In the post which is front of the number 25 of Jaime Costa street in the Jardim São Cristóvão neighborhood, in São Luís, in (the state of) Maranhão, the blood mark still tinges the ground. It was there that, on Monday, Cleidenilson Pereira da Silva, bound and beaten, died after trying to rob a bar a few meters away. Next to the stage of barbarism, the climate is of concern, and few openly comment on the lynching – store owners in region, mostly still keep the doors of their establishments closed. The almost hegemonic silence, however, does not mean repentance.
“The outcome was good for all, because whoever who died was a marginal,” says one, requesting anonymity, a daughter of the owner of the bar that would have been robbed.
Antonio Pereira da Silva and Maria José Gonçalves Pires disagree. Cleidenilson’s father and stepmother, both seek to understand not only the involvement of their son in the assault (he never had any relation with crime), but also the brutality of those who beat the 29-year-old to death.
“The only thing I wanted to ask is how they are putting their head of the pillow,” vents, between tears, the kitchen assistant Maria, who Cleidenilson considered his mother.
The biological mother handed the child over to the auto body repair man Antônio when the boy was 2, and never showed up again. The youngest of four brothers, he studied up to the eighth grade (now ninth year) and began using cocaine at 15, an addiction that lasted until the beginning of his adult life. Over the past decade, he had been using only marijuana.
“In our last conversation, on Sunday night, I told him he needed to stop it. And he promised that he would change,” remembers Antônio.
Unemployed for two years, Cleidenilson would do various odd jobs to sustain himself. On the Monday in which he died, he was to paint a refrigerator for a neighbor. With the money, he liked to give little goodies to the family. The latter, on Mother’s Day, was a 14-inch TV given to Mary.
Video shows images of the brutal murder