Police have arrested an Italian man in the murder of a Nigerian street vendor whose brutal beating on a busy thoroughfare in a beach town was filmed by onlookers without any apparent attempt to physically intervene.
Video footage of the attack has circulated widely on Italian news websites and social media, sparking outrage as Italy took part in a parliamentary election campaign in which the right-wing coalition has already made immigration a problem.
“The murder of Alika Ogorchukwu is mind-boggling,” Enrico Letta, a former prime minister and the head of the left-wing Democratic Party, wrote on Twitter on Saturday, citing the name of the seller who died Friday. “Unprecedented cruelty. Widespread indifference. There can be no justification.”
Right-wing leader Matteo Salvini, who makes security a part of his campaign, also expressed his outrage at the death, saying: “Security has no color and … must become a right again.”
Ogorchukwu, 39, was selling goods on the main street of Civitanova Marche, a seaside resort on the Adriatic Sea, on Friday when his attacker grabbed the seller’s crutch and knocked him down, police said. The video shows the attacker wrestling the victim onto the sidewalk on his back as he fought back, eventually subduing Ogorchukwu with the weight of his body.
“The aggressor went after the victim and first hit him with a crutch. He dropped it on the floor and finished, causing death, hitting repeatedly with his bare hands,” police investigator Matteo Luconi told a news conference.
He later told Italian news channel Sky TG24 that onlookers called the police, who responded after the suspect fled and tried to help the victim. An autopsy will reveal whether death was provoked by beatings, asphyxiation, or some other cause.
Police used street cameras to track the attacker’s movements and detained a man identified as Filippo Claudio Giuseppe Ferlazzo, 32. He was held on suspicion of murder and theft for allegedly stealing the victim’s phone.
Luconi said the attacker lashed out after the seller made “continued” requests for pocket money. Police questioned witnesses and viewed videos of the attack. They said the suspect has not made a statement.
Ogorchukwu, who was married with two children, resorted to selling goods on the street after he was hit by a car and lost his job as a laborer due to his injuries, said Daniel Amanza, who runs the ACSIM association for immigrants in the United States. Marche region. Macerata Province.
Amanza gave a different version of what happened, saying that the attacker became enraged when Ogorchukwu told the man’s companion that she was beautiful.
“This compliment killed him,” Amanza told The Associated Press.
“The tragic fact is that there were a lot of people around. They filmed and said, ‘Stop,’ but no one moved to part them,” said Amanza
>Macerata was the site of a 2018 shooting targeting African immigrants that left six people injured. Luca Traini, 31, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for the shooting, which was classified as a hate crime according to Italy’s highest court.
The mayor of Civitanova Marche, Fabrizio Ciarapica, met with members of the Nigerian community on Saturday after hundreds of demonstrations.
“My conviction is not only for the [crime] but it’s also for the indifference,” Ciarapica told Sky. “This is something that has shocked the citizens.”
Former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who leads his own small party, called on political leaders to “instrumentalize” the attack.
“I am shocked by this electoral climate,” he said on social media. “A father was murdered in a horrific and racist manner while passers-by made video without stopping the aggressor. And instead of thinking about what we are becoming, politicians argue and instrumentalize.”