Italians ask if the killing of immigrant could have been prevented

ROME (AP) – Italians debated Sunday whether a Nigerian street vendor could have been saved from a deadly attack by an angry Italian man who played as a public spectator. The bereaved left flowers and placards condemning the violence and the indifference of the people around.

On Saturday, Alika Ogorchuku, 39, was struck first with her own crutches and then furiously crushed by the suspect as they strolled along a bustling shopping street in Civitanova Marche, an Italian city on the Adriatic Sea. .

Corriere della Sera titled it, “a four-minute-long horror”, noting that the city’s other Nigerian immigrants harbored the apathy and racism seen in the killing.

Video footage of the attack has been circulated on Italian news websites and on social media.

On Monday a judge will decide whether the alleged attacker, whom police have identified as 32-year-old Filippo Claudio Giuseppe Ferlazzo, should remain in prison during the investigation.

Police investigator Matteo Luconi said the attacker went after the seller after Ogorchukuev made a “compulsory” request for a pocket change from the suspect and his female partner. The lawyer for the slain man said he was attacked after praising the woman for her beauty.

An autopsy would help determine whether Ogorchuku died from the beating or was possibly strangled as he lay on his back, his attacker on top of him and beating him.

Local shopkeepers said that Ogorchuku often sold packets of tissue or cigarette lighters to customers.

During a popular talk show on Italian state radio on Sunday, listeners called for at least two spectators filming the incident to ease the apathy and fear created by the attack.

A listener recalled that a young man was beaten to death by a gang of Italian youths near Rome in 2020 when he tried to defend a friend and subdue the fight. A court recently convicted four Italians, two of them to life in prison, for the murder of Willy Monteiro Duarte, a cook whose family originated from Cape Verde.

On Sunday, people stopped at the site where Ogorchuku died, leaving flowers and tying placards on a tree, including those condemning “violence, racism, indifference”.

Some radio listeners were outraged that two onlookers used their phones to film the attack and that no one apparently tried to drag the suspect from his victim. Police said some people called to report the progress of the attack, but by the time help arrived, Ogorchuku was already dead.

A caller asked the host what he would have done if he was there.

“I would have kicked him,” replied Mario Cecchi, director of the Italian news agency AGI.

The attack comes as Italian politicians begin campaigning for an early parliamentary election on 25 September. The anti-migrant head of the right-wing League party, Matteo Salvini, has made immigration as well as protecting citizens from violent crime his top issues.

On Sunday, Salvini argued in a tweet that his centre-left opponents were taking advantage of the Nigerian’s death to “accuse me, the league and millions of Italians of racism. Squid.”

Archbishop Rocco Penacchio, whose diocese includes the Civitanova Marche, decided that Sunday’s mass would be held in place of homes for several minutes of silence.

The mayor of nearby San Severino Marche, where Ogorchuku lived with his wife, son and a niece, said the city would pay for the funeral. Italian media said local citizens also started fundraising to help his widow.

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