A man has been arrested after a Nigerian street vendor was beaten to death in a town in Italy in a horror attack filmed by onlookers who have been criticised for not intervening.
Alika Ogorchukwu, 39, was beaten to death in broad daylight after he reportedly called his attacker’s girlfriend “beautiful” in a bid to get a sale.
Mr Ogochukwu grabbed a woman’s arm on the main road in beach town Civitanova Marche in an effort to make a sale.
The woman’s partner allegedly hit him with a crutch and then strangled him for about four minutes.
Police investigator Matteo Luconi told a press conference: “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”.
The attack was caught on a passerby’s phone and a security camera but onlookers failed to intervene to try to save the 39-year-old, who is thought to have been selling tissues in the central Italian seaside town.
“This compliment killed him,” Daniel Amanza, who runs the provincial branch of migrant association ACSIM, told the Associated Press.
“The tragic fact is that there were many people nearby. They filmed, saying “stop”, but no one moved to separate them.”
A 32-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of the father-of-two’s murder and allegedly stealing his mobile after police tracked him down on Saturday.
Omicidio razzista di #civitanovamarche. Un tizio italiano ha ucciso un disabile nigeriano.— Sarita (@Sarita_Libre) July 29, 2022
Questo è il video dell'inizio.
C'èra chi commentava, c'era chi filmava con il telefonino, ma non c'era chi ha aiutava la vittima.
Che è stata uccisa davanti a tutti. pic.twitter.com/2GCt12fMLY
Italian media reports have also suggested the attack began after his “insistent” attempts to sell handkerchiefs and to be given “pocket change”.
“The situation is quite clear, everything seems to have emerged from a dispute over frivolous reasons, not racism,” said investigator Matteo Luconi.
Charity Oriachi, the wife of the victim Mr Ogorchukwu, said during a protest on Saturday: “Now I just want justice for my husband.”
Police said that a frenzied attack on Mr Orgochukwu was launched after a man took his crutch.
He lashed out with a series of strikes. Footage then shows the two grappling on the floor, with the attacker trying to pin him to the ground before beating him with his hands.
The attacker is said to have strangled him before Mr Ogochukwu died.
Bystanders called police and tried to help the victim with first aid after Ferlazzo left the scene.
Mr Ogorchukwu, who had two children, reported to be aged 10 and eight, had lost his job as a labourer after being hit by a car.
He resorted to selling the tissues in a bid to make money after being left without work.
The killing comes amid an Italian election campaign, with politicians lining up to condemn the attack and each other for allowing such a fraught climate to develop against a backdrop of immigration and racism issues.
Fabrizio Ciarapica, the town’s mayor, said: “My condemnation is not only for the [crime] but it is also for the indifference.
“This is something that has shocked citizens.”
The man who was arrested was later identified as Filippo Claudio Giuseppe Ferlazzo. He is reportedly being held in the Montacuto prison in Ancona.
Enrico Letta, the leader of the left-wing Democratic Party, wrote on Twitter: “The murder of Alika Ogorchukwu leaves us dismayed. The unprecedented ferocity. Widespread indifference. There can be no justification.”
Right-wing leader Matteo Salvini also expressed outrage over the death, saying “security has no colour and needs to return to being a right.”
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