A quilombola was tied up, dragged and kicked by a trader last Saturday (11) in the municipality of Portalegre (RN), 373 kilometers away from Natal.
The case gained repercussion from this Monday (13), after the video of the aggression went viral on social networks. In it, the quilombola Luciano Simplício, 23, appears lying on the asphalt with his hands and feet tied by a rope and is kicked by a merchant identified as Alberan Freitas — who claims that Simplício threw a stone in his trade.
The investigation to investigate the case was opened by the Civil Police on Saturday. This Tuesday (14), the delegate general of Rio Grande do Norte, Ana Cláudia Saraiva, said that the images point to the crime of torture and ill-treatment, but that it is still necessary to wait for the completion of the investigation.
“It is premature to say whether the aggressor will be indicated for torture or ill-treatment because there are nuances between one crime and another that can only be said at the end of the investigation,” he said.
According to the delegate, Freitas can also be indicted for racism, but this depends on testimonial elements collected in the investigation. “We will also find out, from witnesses, whether there were racist motivations for the aggression. It’s something that will depend on what he expressed at that moment of aggression”, he said.
The possible participation of other people in the crime is also investigated. The inquiry should be completed by this weekend, according to the Civil Police.
The aggression would have happened after Freitas and Luciano argued in front of the merchant’s establishment. Reports from residents claim that the quilombola would have been called a “bandit and drug addict” by Freitas and ended up throwing a stone at the place.
“What is mine I have the right to defend”, said the aggressor in the video, while Simplicio screams in pain.
Freitas told the Civil Police, in his testimony, that the discussion with Simplicio began after the quilombola asked for some food at a trader’s get-together with friends and refused to leave after having granted the request.
According to him, Simplicio “has changed” and started threatening him with death. After asking him to leave, the quilombola would have thrown the stone at the establishment, next to the house in which he lives. The reaction would have been a way of “defending the heritage”, according to the merchant.
A sheet could not hear Freitas on Tuesday.
The two were taken on the same day by the Military Police to the 4th Regional Police Station in Pau dos Ferros, a municipality neighboring Portalegre, before the video gained repercussion on social networks.
Simplicio was booked for depredation and Freitas for bodily injury. The officers who conducted the two did not witness the attack.
After the repercussion of the video, an audio attributed to the merchant was also broadcast on social networks. However, until this Tuesday, he had not come to the attention of the delegate general.
In it, a male voice, supposedly from Freitas, states that he would repeat the aggression again.
According to reports from residents of the region, Simplício is a quilombola from the Pega community, in Portalegre, and has been living on the streets since he lost his parents. From then on, he would have started to abuse alcohol.
Governor Fátima Bezerra (PT), on a social network, stated that she had determined the “immediate and rigorous investigation” of the case and that the state “will not be conniving”.
The case is also monitored by Conaq (National Coordination for the Coordination of Quilombos) and by the Coordination of Policies for the Promotion of Racial Equality of Rio Grande do Norte (Coeppir). The two entities stated that they are providing legal support and protection to the victim.
Conaq stated that the crime was torture and a reproduction of slavery. “For Conaq, the aggression was motivated by racism and the certainty of impunity. The lynching of black youths by Brazilian society demonstrates racial and social segregation that is so present in the daily lives of black people in Brazil,” he said in a statement.