Police have arrested a man who beat a Nigerian vendor to death in Italy as several witnesses stood by, reports the Washington Post.
Videotaped by onlookers, the brutal attack of Alika Ogorchukwu, who uses crutches to get around, was shared widely on social media and Italian websites sparking outrage throughout the country that is already experiencing immigration issues.
Per the police report, on Friday, Ogorchukwu was selling goods on the main street of Civitanova Marche, a beach town on the Adriatic Sea, when his attacker “grabbed the vendor’s crutch and struck him down.” The video footage shows the assailant wrestling the victim onto his back on the pavement as he fought back, eventually subduing Ogorchukwu with the weight of his body.
“The aggressor went after the victim, first hitting him with a crutch. He made him fall to the ground, then he finished, causing the death, striking repeatedly with his bare hands,’’ said police investigator Matteo Luconi during a press conference.
The man identified as Filippo Claudio Giuseppe Ferlazzo was tracked down by street cameras in the region. He's being held on suspicion of murder and theft for allegedly taking the victim’s phone.
Daniel Amanza, who leads the ACSIM association for immigrants in the Marche region’s Macerata province noted that Ogorchukwu, who was married with two children, began selling goods on the street after being struck by a car and losing his job because of his injuries.
Amanza added that Ogurchukwu's attacker became incensed when Ogorchukwu complimented the man’s female companion.
At no time during the attack did anyone attempt to stop the suspect.
“This compliment killed him,’’ Amanza said. “The tragic fact is that there were many people nearby. They filmed, saying ‘Stop,’ but no one moved to separate them,’’ he continued.
“Let’s condemn the fact itself and the behavior of people who stood by and watched a disabled person get killed with a crutch and filmed it, instead of intervening, it is shameful,” said Patrick Guobadia, the vice secretary of an association representing Nigerians in Italy.
“This indifference is frightening,” added Guobardia.
Civitanova Marche’s mayor, Fabrizio Ciarapica, met with several members of the Nigerian community after hundreds protested Ogorchukwu's death on Saturday.
“My condemnation is not only for the (crime) but it is also for the indifference,’’ Ciarapica said. ”This is something that has shocked citizens.”
Matteo Renzi, a former Italian premier who now leads his own political party, criticized political leaders for “instrumentalizing” the attack.
“I am horrified by this electoral climate,″ he said on social media. ”A father was killed in an atrocious and racist way while passersbys took video without stopping the aggressor. And instead of reflecting on what we are becoming, politicians argue and instrumentalize.”