Another scene of violence shocked Brazil this past Sunday, June 8. A group of 15 men attacked and almost beat to death a police officer at one of the most boisterous areas of the Brazilian southeast city of São Paulo: Augusta Street, close to Paulista Avenue, one of the town's major financial districts.
The brutality occurred, when a young Afro-Brazilian walking down Augusta Street around 4 am was surrounded by skinheads, a neo-Nazi group. After being called "nigger" by his aggressors, the victim was attacked. A local police officer, who was in the area at the moment of the attack, tried to intervene, with no luck.
The police official was brutallyÂ attacked by the gang, who carried weapons including a metal bar. His face was completely disfigured following the episode. A cyclist, who was passing by during the incident, immediately called the local police station. Only fiveÂ gang membersÂ ended up being arrested. Every one of them had a previous criminal record.
It is not the first time an incident of this nature has occurred in São Paulo. In February 2007, University professor Alessandro Ferreira de Araújo was also a victim of the skinhead violence, that time for being homosexual.
According to Decradi (Department of Police for Racial crimes and Racial Intolerance), there are approximately 3000 gang members listed in their database, who are involved in some type of hatred activity.
Punk Threat, Punk addiction, Hooligan Impact, Front 88 to name a
few are some of the names. Gang members normally wear steel boots, camouflage shirts and suspenders. Most of these gangs preach hatred against, Jews, Afro-Brazilians, and homosexuals.
This year Brazil is celebrating 120 years of abolition of slavery. According to the IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics), in southeastern Brazil close to 40% of the population is Afro-Brazilian, while in the North and Northeast region this number jumps to 75%.
Edison Bernardo DeSouza is a journalist, having graduated from the Pontifical Catholic University in São Paulo, Brazil. He lived in the US for close to 10 years and participated in volunteering activities in social works agencies. DeSouza currently lives in São Paulo where he teaches English as a Second Language, and is pursuing further advancements in his career. He is particularly interested in economics and human rights articles.