Violence erupted across Brazils after a black man is beaten to death by supermarket security guards on eve of Brazil’s Black Consciousness Day
Joao Alberto Silveira Freitas was beaten to death by guards, both white, after they dragged him outside shop in Brazil
Killing of the 40-year-old, former airport worker, who retired after severe injuries on the job, sparked violent anti-racism protests across the South American nation
BLM-style protesters thrashed Carrefour supermarkets around the country
The guards, aged 24 and 30, were arrested at he scene
Their names were not released immediately, but one has been identified as a military policeman and was taken to a military prison
Carrefour announced that it has nothing to do with the incident and that it ‘will end its contract with security company and fire store manager’
Freitas’ death came ahead of Brazil’s annual Black Consciousness Day
His death is being treated as a case of homicide
This is not the first time the French supermarket chain has been mired in controversy in Brazil, involving loss of life on its property
The savage and fatal beating of João Alberto ‘Beto’ Silveira Freitas, a 40-year-old black man by two security guards on the night of Thursday November, 19, at a Carrefour supermarket chain store in the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre set off violent protests by activists across the country
Violence erupted across Brazil on the eve of the country’s Black Consciousness Day after Silveira Freitas, a black man was beaten to death by the two guards at a store owned by French supermarket chain, Carrefour.
A video of the brutal assault showed a group of men take down and batter Freitas, a former Salgado Filho Airport worker who retired on disability after fracturing two fingers and his femur on the job.
Silveira Freitas, 40, was killed outside one of Carrefour’s stores, after being dragged from the cashier area by the two white security guards.
A short clip showed one guard restraining Silveira Freitas just outside the doors of a Carrefour supermarket in the city of Porto Alegre.
The other guard could be seen pummeling the restrained man with repeated blows to the face, ahead of Friday’s annual commemoration.
A store employee stood to the side filming the horrifying incident, while other clips – shot afterward – showed a guard kneeling on Freitas’ back.
Authorities are treating the incident as a homicide investigation.
The the two guards, aged 24 and 30, were arrested at he scene.
Although their names were not released immediately, one has been identified as a military policeman and was taken to a military prison.
According to initial reports by the Rio Grande do Sul Military Police, the incident was the escalation of a disagreement between the victim and a supermarket employee.
Freitas allegedly threatened to hit the employee, who then called security.
João Alberto Silveira Freitas was buried Saturday morning by his family, but his death has sparked violence on the streets of Brazil and led to the intimidation of Carrefour supermarkets by crowds demonstrating against racism.
Freitas a father of three sons, was looking forward to the arrival of his granddaughter.
His coffin draped with the flag of his favorite soccer team, São José, was accompanied by his fiancée, Milena Borges Alves, 43, his father, João Batista Rodrigues Freitas, 65, other relatives and friends. João Alberto and Milena were to be married in early December.
Funeral mourners carried a small placard that read “We demand justice for Beto” and “Vidas negras matter”
Early Friday dozens of BLM-style demonstrators stormed a Carrefour in Brazil’s capital, Brasilia, furiously chanting ‘Black lives matter!’.
One held a sign reading: ‘Don’t shop at Carrefour. You could die.’
Inside another Carrefour in Rio de Janeiro, protesters shouted ‘Carrefour Killer!’ as a black man lay still atop the conveyor belt of a checkout. They forced the store’s closure.
In Sao Paulo, protesters smashed the front window of a Carrefour, scattered goods from shelves over the floor and set a fire that employees hurried to extinguish.
Carrefour released a statement lamenting Freitas’ ‘brutal death,’ and said it will end its contract with the security company, fire the store manager who was on duty and close the Porto Alegre store out of respect for the victim.
The men who beat Freitas have been detained and are being investigated for homicide due to the victim’s asphyxiation and his inability to defend himself, the civil police chief for the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul said.
One of the men was a temporary military police officer who was off-duty, said Rodrigo Mohr, head of the state’s military police.
The two spoke on a Twitter video posted by Gov. Eduardo Leite, who highlighted recent state policies enacted to combat racial intolerance.
‘Unfortunately, on this day in which we should be celebrating those public policies, we come across scenes that leaves us all indignant due to the excessive violence that caused the death of a Black citizen at the supermarket,’ he said.
Black Consciousness Day is observed as a holiday in many parts of Brazil.
In Rio on Friday, a group of people participated in a celebration with Afro-Brazilian dance and music in the working-class Santa Marta favela.
Members of a samba school performed a ritualistic ‘washing’ of the steps leading up into the hillside neighborhood.
Protesters in Brasilia also gathered Friday outside a governmental institution that promotes Black culture to denounce its chief, Sergio Camargo.
Following the world wave of protests over the death of George Floyd, the Black Lives Matter consciousness has taken roots in Brazil, where Black and mixed-race people account for about 57 per cent of the population but constitute 74 per cent of victims of lethal violence, according to the Brazilian Forum on Public Safety, a nongovernmental organization.
The percentage is even higher, 79 per cent, for those killed by police.
Local online news site G1 reported that last night’s incident at the Carrefour in Porto Alegre followed a confrontation between Freitas and a supermarket employee, who then called security. Both guards were white, G1 reported.
Camargo, who is Black, has denied the existence of structural racism in Brazilian society and called the Black Lives Matter movement ‘Lefty garbage.’
Speaking to reporters, Vice President Hamilton Mourao lamented the incident at Carrefour, but denied it reflected racism.
‘Racism doesn’t exist in Brazil. That is something they want to import here,’ Mourao said. ?
I lived in the United States. There is racism there.’
Carrefour issued a statement that “it will break the contract with the company that is responsible for the security guards who committed the aggression”.
The company also promised to “adopt the appropriate measures to hold those involved in this criminal act accountable”
This is not the first time the French supermarket chain has been embroiled in controversy in Brazil.
In August, a man died within a Carrefour store in northeastern city Recife; his body was covered by umbrellas and the supermarket continued operating for several hours.
Carrefour apologized in a statement and said it was changing its protocols to close locations when deaths occur.
In 2018, a security guard at a Carrefour in Sao Paulo state beat a stray dog to death with a metal bar. The dog had been well known in the area, and Carrefour agreed to pay $188,000 [1 million reais] to a fund for the protection of animals.