- Alika Ogorchukwu, 39, was beaten to death by Italian man Filippo Ferlazzo, 32
A bystander who filmed the horrific moment a father-of-two was attacked by a ‘male customer’ has sparked outrage after no one stepped in to help save him.
Police in Italy have arrested a 32-year-old man following the murder of a Nigerian street vendor whose brutal murder was filmed by onlookers who made no attempt to physically intervene.
Alika Ogorchukwu, 39, was beaten to death by an Italian man, identified as Filippo Claudio Giuseppe Ferlazzo, in Civitanova Marche’s busy town centre, a beach town on the Adriatic Sea, on Friday.
Police used street cameras to track Ferlazzo’s movements and arrested him on Saturday on charges of murder and allegedly stealing the victim’s mobile phone, according to local agency ANSA.
Local media have reported that Ferlazzo is currently being held in the Montacuto prison in Ancona. It is claimed he will not be charged with racism.
‘The situation is quite clear, everything seems to have emerged from a dispute over frivolous reasons, not racism’, said Matteo Luconi, one of the investigators.
Shocking video footage of the attack has circulated widely on social media, eliciting outrage as Italy enters a parliamentary election campaign in which the right-wing coalition has already made immigration an issue.
Alika was selling goods when his attacker grabbed the vendor’s crutch and struck him down with a series of blows, according to police.
The footage shows Ferlazzo wrestling the victim onto his back on the pavement as he fought back and climbing on top of Alika in an attempt to pin him to the ground
Alika’s wife, Charity Oriachi, said: ‘Now I just want justice for my husband’, during a protest at the murder scene on Saturday.
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, who is making security a plank of his campaign, also expressed outrage over the death, saying ‘security has no colour and needs to return to being a right.’
‘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,’ police investigator Matteo Luconi told a press conference.
He later told Italian news channel Sky TG24 that onlookers called police, who responded after the suspect had fled and attempted to administer aid to the victim. An autopsy will determine if the death was provoked by blows, suffocation or another cause.
Luconi said the assailant lashed out after the vendor made ‘insistent’ requests for pocket change. Police were questioning witnesses and viewing videos of the attack. They said the suspect has made no statement.
Alika, who was married with two children, resorted to selling goods on the street after he was struck by a car and lost his job as a labourer due to his injuries, said Daniel Amanza, who runs the ACSIM association for immigrants in the Marche region’s Macerata province.
Amanza gave a different version of what happened, claiming the Ferlazzo became infuriated when Alika told the man’s ‘girlfriend’ she was beautiful.
‘This compliment killed him,’ Amanza 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,’ Amanza said.
Macerata was the site of a 2018 shooting spree targeting African immigrants that wounded six people. Luca Traini, 31, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for the shootings, which Italy’s highest court confirmed qualified as a hate crime.
Civitanova Marche’s mayor, Fabrizio Ciarapica, met with members of the Nigerian community after hundreds demonstrated at the scene of the crime on Saturday.
‘My condemnation is not only for the (crime) but it is also for the indifference,’ Ciarapica told Sky. ‘This is something that has shocked citizens.’
Former Premier Matteo Renzi, who heads his own small party, called out political leaders for ‘instrumentalising’ the attack.
‘I am horrified by this electoral climate’, he said on social media. ‘A father was killed in an atrocious and racist way while passersby took video without stopping the aggressor. And instead of reflecting on what we are becoming, politicians argue and instrumentalise.’