Note from BBT: In some ways, this post could be filed under the category of “nothing to see here, let’s keep it moving”, as the attitude is one that is so common in Brazil. But on the other hand, I can’t simply dismiss it because, even though this type of scenario isn’t rare, we still cannot ignore it because, again, when we accept such behavior, and others accept it, it becomes the norm, which is exactly how Brazil functions. As such, it should probably be better filed under the category of “race and place” as it is another episode which shows that this idea that black people don’t belong in certain areas is still the norm across the country even though people will never acknowledge it.
The point here is that, even though most people won’t actually act out on this sort of sentiment, taking action or not, the thought that one would associate with black and white water fountains in 1950s United States has ALWAYS existed in Brazil. There was just never any law enacted to enforce it. The fact is, read any of a number of books about racism and race relations in Brazil and you will find a ton of literature in which people clearly believed that black Brazilians had a certain ’place’ in which they belonged and when they were outside of this designated place, the favela slum or any poor neighborhood, there was a certain discomfort or outright rejection.
Well, in the 21st century, this sentiment still clearly exists. What I’ve noted increasingly more is that white Brazilians are much bolder in acting on racist sentiments and different from the past, are actually admitting that they in fact don’t like black people (see note one). Lately, I haven’t been publishing many examples of such blatant, open displays of racist actions, but every now and then I will post one just so we can always keep in the back of our minds that Brazil can be just as racist as any other country.
‘Black and poor don’t deserve to be here’, that’s what a young man assaulted in marina in Paulista heard
According to the victim, what was supposed to be a simple walk with friends from school turned into a scenario of intolerance and gratuitous violence
With information courtesy of Folha de PE, Ricardo Antunes and G1
Lucas de Lima Paiva, 20, an engineering student at the Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE), was assaulted at the MF Marina Club boat. This could be an account of an aggression suffered by an ordinary young man, but the motivation for this violence reveals another reality. According to Folha de Pernambuco, he was assaulted because he was black. The crime happened Saturday afternoon, January 30, in a marina located in the district of Maria Farinha, in the Paulista reigion of the Greater Recife area. The images of the crime circulated in the social networks.
Although the Pernambuco Civil Police investigating the ca’se did not reveal the names of the aggressors, Folha de Pernambuco confirmed with a source who witnessed the arrests that the crime was committed by the brothers Thierry Rocha, Thayanne Rocha, and a friend of the two, whose name has not yet been identified.
What was to be a simple stroll with friends from college, at the invitation of a colleague, became a scenario of scenes of intolerance and violence. “I was invited to a boat. Me and my friends. A friend invited more people I had never seen in my life, totally unknown. I didn’t talk to them, they didn’t talk to me”, reported Lucas. He was one of the guests on a boat ride on the Timbó River on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
Lucas says he was approached by one of the guests and suffered the first injury. “The moment I went to buy a drink, he said, ‘do you like blue or red? I answered ‘either’, I don’t know, red. Then he said: ‘but I don’t like red, I like blue. And you’re going to be against me, aren’t you?’ Then I said, no, it’s okay. I just want to pass by, it doesn’t matter to me, no,” said the student. After about an hour, the aggressor attacked him again. “He surprised me and asked: ‘What are you doing here, boy? Tu é preto (You’re black). Do you have a car? Do you have money here? You don’t deserve to be here, dammit. Black and poor can’t be in these places, no,” he described.
According to Lucas, after suffering the verbal aggressions of a racist nature, he thought about getting off the boat. “Then I said: I’m not staying on this boat until he leaves. Then, at that time, his sister shouted: get out, get out, poor, get out of here, you don’t deserve to be here, preto (black)!”, he reported. Lucas said he even asked the commander if he could jump out of the boat, but he was discouraged from doing so because of the risk of an accident with the stones. The pilot then left him at the marina, where the physical assaults would take place.
“I already arrived at the restaurant with him saying that he wanted to assault me, but I thought he wouldn’t come, because there were too many people. When I look back, he had already grabbed and struck me. Then my friends arrived, they pushed him and took me away. Then the employees of the restaurant hid me so he wouldn’t come at me anymore,” said Lucas.
The Military Police were called in and two men, 23 and 25, and a 23-year-old woman were arrested in the act, according to the Civil Police of Pernambuco (PCPE). An inquiry was opened to investigate the crimes. All three were referred to the Paulista Civil Police Station.
“Now my feeling is one of revolt and hatred against them. It only shows that he thinks he has money and too much power and can do whatever he wants. And ‘I don’t like him for this or that, so I’m going to assault him and humiliate him’. It’s revolting,” the student said.
The two men and the woman were arrested for racial insult and bodily injury after the meleé, paid bail and were released, according to the Civil Police. “I knew they would find a way not to get arrested,” Paiva. Paiva could be specifically speaking of this case or he could be aware that, it is quite common for people to be arrested for committing a racially motivated crime, paying a fine, and walking away.
Once again, in this situation, we see a question of whether the incident should be labeled as injúria racial or racial injury/slur or racism, with the latter carrying a harsher penalty. In the former, the accused can simply pay bail and walk free while with racism, the person cannot make such a payment and there is also prison time involved.
“They paid bail because they were accused of racial abuse and physical assault. The chief concluded the investigation, sending it to the Public Ministry, which made a denouncement of those accused. We will file a civil action for moral and material damages. He’s a good boy, 20 years old, who studies engineering at the federal university,” said Paiva’s lawyer.
“I don’t really know or express what I’m feeling right now. Internally I’m feeling a lot of hated, extremely angry, because I don’t know why this happened. I’m just angry and very angry inside me, because I don’t know what I did to deserve this,” said Lucas.
The victim displayed all sorts of signs of assult, with scars on his mouth, scratches on his arms, and feeling pain in his neck. The student also underwent a corpus delicti examination at the Institute of Forensic Medicine (IML) in the city’s downtown region.
Feeling threatened, Paiva asked one of the marinas ailor for help and according to him, “That’s when (one of the aggressors’) sister started screaming ‘yeah, get out of here, black, get out of here, poor. You don’t deserve to be here,'” he said.
Escaping the scene and screaming that he was being assaulted, Paiva didn’t actually think that his aggressor would catch him.
“When I looked back, he was already very close, he started beating me, and then my friends arrived separating us and his sister too, beating everybody. While we simply didn’t fight back at any time and wanted to put an end to the situation and be well. The marina people helped me a lot, hid me so that he wouldn’t come after me and the police arrived,” he said.
The incident which was captured on video showing Paiva being beaten in the middle of a group of people.
An employee worked at the marina reported being fired the day after the crime. She believes she was dismissed for helping to defend the victim. Kelly Fernandes da Silva also underwent a corpus delicti examination and displayed the scars she received after the tussle with the same young people who assaulted Paiva.
It was later revealed that the aggressors wre the dental student Thayanne Santos Lins da Rocha and her brother and boyfriend, Thierry Henrique Santos Rocha and Hygor José Rodrigues de Oliveira. All three posted bail of BRL 1,1000 thousand each.
Part of the assault was filmed. In the images, it is possible to see the engineering student Lucas de Lima Paiva, 20 years old, being beaten in the middle of a group of people. Employees helped Paiva by locking him in the restarant’s kitchen.
“My daughter, 19 years old, depends on me, my grandchildren too. I don’t know what will become of me, nor of them. I feel angry, sad, because it was racism. I’m in shock, taking tranquilizers. I can’t eat, I can’t sleep. I’m angry because it was racism, and he didn’t die just because of the employees,” Kelly said.
Kelly was employed as a cashier at the convenience store at the marina. The marina denies that her dismissal was the result of her involvement in the incident.
“I went to try to get him out of the clutches of Thayanne, Thierry and Hygor. When Lucas came up, he already came up asking for help. He was beaten a lot, humiliated, cursed as ‘no good negro’, ‘disgusting poor person’, ‘shit’, ‘filthy’, ‘dirty negro’. Saying ‘you don’t have a car, I’ll kill you. All the time cursing Lucas. Thayanne, all the time, threatened him with death. He said ‘I’ll kill you, I’ll kill you,'” Kelly remembered.
The now former marina employee also says that the aggressors were very drunk. One of the aggressors, Thierry, is also a defendant in a lawsuit for gang formation, crimes against the economic order and handling stolen goods.
“Thayanne said ‘I’m white, I’m the daughter of a judge and this won’t come to anything, I’ll kill you’ and the whole time cursing him, beating him. The three were beating him. I, on the part of Thayanne, took scratches on the arm, kicks, pushing and cursing, like other employees, who are witnesses,” said the former marina employee. Here, once again, we see that, contrary to the idea that Brazilians see themselves as “all equal”, if Kelly’s details are true, we see white Brazilians clearly see themselves as being privileged as well as believing that they could attack someone and not be held accountable for their actions.
The next day, a Sunday (31), Kelly says she was fired.
“The boss had a meeting, cited that she had the privilege of being born white and rich. She took me to a room and, when she entered, she gave me BRL 40 to take resignation exam, said that I couldn’t stay there anymore, because, I was bringing problems to the marina. She was also beaten by Thayanne with kicks and pushes. Because I defended Lucas, she said that, because of being an employee, she didn’t want me to get involved and I wasn’t going to work there anymore and I was dismissed”, declared Kelly.
The lawyer representing Paiva stated that he is trying to revert the process to the crime of racism. Kelly is part of the inquiry as a witness.
“She was fired because she tried to help Lucas. She was assaulted by Thayanne Rocha and helped when she saw Lucas there. She was kicked, scratched, verbally assaulted, called poor. The testimony of the marina staff will be added to Lucas’ inquiry. We came in with a request to represent (the case) as racism, because they paid bail of BRL 1,100 each and were released,” said lawyer Luiz Carlos Tomé.
Rafael Torres, the lawyer representing Thayanne, Thierry and Hygor, said he has “absolute conviction of everyone’s innocence”. He also said that “those involved reject any and all acts of prejudice”. It will be intriguing to know how the aggressors claim innocence when everything was caught on video. Of course, witnesses to the meleé will be able to weigh in on if they heard any phrases of racist intent during the skirmish.
“I received with strangeness the accusations in front of them regarding the crime of racial insult, since the version presented so far is not in line with the factual reality. I have absolute conviction of everyone’s innocence, and in the next few days a probationary stranglehold will be presented in order to ratify everyone’s full innocence,” he said.
By way of a note, MF Marina said that Kelly’s dismissal in fact had “nothing to do with the confusion caused by a group of young people last Saturday afternoon, the 30th” and that her release “was already in the plans of the marina and was for administrative reasons, which will not be exposed to the public.
The marina also said “that it is not true that the resignation happened after Kelly tried to break up a fight between the young people that was taking place in the marina’s internal premises”. Finally, the company repudiated the aggressions and “any form of discrimination”.