Justice for Alika Ogorchukwu
Black man beaten to death in Italy
Last Friday, a Black man was beaten to death on the street in Italy in broad daylight. No one intervened and the police are already dismissing the racist nature of the killing. This horrific murder and its handling by police illustrate how racism still openly prevails in Europe.
According to the police in charge of this case, the fact that the murderer started beating Alika Ogorchukwu to death for calling his girlfriend “beautiful” is enough to rule out a racist motive. They reduced this gruesome act to a “frivolous murder” by denying what is at the heart of racism.
It takes a scary level of dehumanisation to beat someone to death, in broad daylight, visibly without fear of being filmed by onlookers, because a person spoke a word. That is what this is all about.
The gruesome footage of the killing also shows that the murderer killed Alika Ogorchukwu in the same way as George Floyd : with a chokehold.
2 years since the tragic event and Black people are still living with the memory of Floyd’s last words: “I can’t breathe”.
In the midst of an election campaign, right-wing and extreme right-wing parties are reluctant to condemn this horrible act. This shows how rampant racism is at political and institutional levels. ENAR absolutely condemns the trivialisation of these Italian political parties.
ENAR demands Justice for Alika Ogorchukwu. The failure to even investigate the racist motive of this murder shows the extent of institutional racism and its ability to constantly deny the obvious.
Yet, guidelines and recommendations have already been shared at the institutional level to ensure a minimum of standards and guidelines for investigating, proving and processing cases with elements of hate crimes. These guidelines are also in line with Article 4 of the Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law. Here are some of these guidelines:
- Police authorities should use the ‘perception test’ – the victim’s perception of the crime – as the basis of the recording of hate crimes and to start investigations. The concept of the ‘perception test’ must be included in operational guidelines and shared and communicated across teams within police departments and the wider justice system.
- Police authorities should record hate crimes with the bias indicator, as well as information on the ethnic or racial identity of the victim and the victim’s and/or witness’ perception of the ethnic or racial identity of the perpetrator. Any other characteristic of diversity of the victim (sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion…) should also be taken into account to cater for an intersectional analysis of the crime and the bias motivation of the perpetrator.
- EU Member States must make recording of hate crimes with a racial bias systematic and mandatory and clearly outline this position in all their policies, guidelines and manuals.
- EU Member States must develop clear codes of practice or guidelines that include a definition of hate crime that can be shared across the criminal justice system. There must be consistency in the guidelines, definitions and standards across the entire criminal justice system in every Member State.
- EU Member States must systematically record hate crime cases within the prosecution and court system and monitor cases that fall under the aggravated or penalty enhancement provision. The recording of these cases must comprehensively and consistently include information on the various bias motives of hate crimes in such a way that the bias element can be tracked through every stage: from the police, to the prosecution, through to the sentencing.
- EU Member States should develop codes of practice, guidelines and policies specific to the investigation of crimes with racial bias in consultation with civil society organisations. Alongside detailed guidelines, a short easy-to-use bias indicator guide for investigations could be produced for frontline officers.
#BlackLivesMatter now and always.