In May 2021 Alika Ogorchukwu, a 39-year-old Nigerian living in Italy, was hit by a car while he was riding his bicycle, an accident that forced him to use a crutch to move around.
On Friday, an Italian man used the crutch to knock Mr. Ogorchukwu to the ground on a major shopping street in Civitanova Marche, a seaside town on the Adriatic Coast, before beating him to death, as a video of the assault shows and police officials confirmed. Moments earlier, Mr. Ogorchukwu, a street vendor, had unsuccessfully pitched his wares to the assailant and his girlfriend.
The brutal, senseless murder — which was videotaped by witnesses and shared thousands of times on social media — has shocked Italians, stirred political bickering ahead of national elections in September and spawned fresh debate over racism in Italy, even though, for now, investigators do not believe that the crime was racially motivated.
“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,” he said.
Editorials in major Italian newspapers wrote of the “dusk of civilization.” Politicians across the political spectrum denounced the crime, though concerns emerged that the murder could be used as a political sparring point in the upcoming election in which the right-wing coalition has already singled out immigration as an issue.
Rocco Pennacchio, the archbishop of nearby Fermo, said in an interview Sunday in the Catholic newspaper l’Avvenire that he hoped that all the political parties would refrain from stirring such tensions for “a handful of votes.”
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SOURCE: The New York Times, Elisabetta Povoledo