Italy: In the May of 2021, Alika Ogorchukwu, a 39-year-old Nigerian living in Italy, was hit by a car while riding his bicycle. This accident had forced him to use a crutch to move around. On Friday, an Italian man used the same crutch to knock Ogorchukwu to the ground on a major shopping street of Civitanova Marche before beating him to death.
A video of the assault shows that moments earlier, Ogorchukwu, a street vendor, had unsuccessfully pitched his products to the assailant and his girlfriend. The police authorities later confirmed the claim.
The murder was videotaped by witnesses and shared thousands of times on social media sites and platforms. The brutality of the act has shocked Italians, stirred political bickering ahead of national elections, which are to be held in September and generated fresh debate over racism in Italy. The investigators, however, maintain that they do not believe the crime was racially motivated.
Patrick Guobadia, vice secretary of an association representing Nigerians in Italy, said that we should condemn the fact itself and the behaviour of the people who stood there and videotaped the whole incident but did not intervene. He added that the indifference shown by the people at the scene is frightening.
Ogorchukwu was murdered around 2 p.m. on Friday. Soon after, he approached the suspect, Filippo Ferlazzo and his girlfriend to sell them trinkets in exchange for change. After being snubbed rudely by the suspect, Ogorchukwu walked away. He was followed by the suspect, Filippo Ferlazzo, almost immediately afterwards, who assaulted him. Witnesses on the street filmed the attack, which lasted less than four minutes, but no one intervened.
Politicians across the spectrum have condemned the crime. It can be expected that this incident can be used by the various political parties to gain leverage in the upcoming elections.
The suspect, Ferlazzo, is a 32-year-old factory worker. He is being held on charges of homicide and robbery. He had taken Ogorchukwu’s mobile after the episode of assault. The chief police investigator, Matteo Luconi, overseeing the case, stated in a telephone interview that an autopsy later this week would establish the cause of death. He added that nothing has emerged from investigations to suggest “elements of racial hatred,” he added.