On Tuesday, Brazilian police arrested the supervisor of a Carrefour supermarket in Porto Alegre where security guards beat a black man to death and accused her of collaborating with the killers.
Supervisor Adriana Alves Dutra had the authority to stop the guards from beating 40-year-old Joao Alberto Silveira Freitas on November 19, said homicide investigator Vanessa Pitrez with the civilian police.
“She had authority over the two guards,” and because of that, “the law sees her as a murderer,” Pitrez said at a news conference, quoted by the UOL news site.
Pitrez has requested that the woman be temporarily detained.
Alves Dutra appears in a video that went viral when Silveira Freitas is hit in the face and head in the parking lot of the supermarket by a security guard when the other guard stops him.
According to the preliminary investigation, Silveira Freitas was beaten for more than five minutes before he was immobilized by his attackers and died of suffocation.
Both security guards have been arrested.
Alves Dutra, who was also seen recording the incident, apparently lied to the police in her original account and said she did not hear Silveira Freita’s appeal for help.
She also claimed that one of the guards was a shop customer and hid the fact that he was a Carrefour employee.
According to Globo TV, referring to the supervisor’s first report to the police about the incident, Alves Dutra claimed that she repeatedly asked the guards to release the black man.
But in parts of the video, she instead warns Silveira Freitas to calm down so that he can be released, but also tells him that he will not be released until the police arrive.
Police Chief Roberta Bertoldo said Alves Dutra made “contradictory statements.”
It will be up to the inquiry to see “whether these contradictions were motivated by something she wanted to cover up or not.”
The video of the beating quickly went viral online and sparked demonstrations on Friday when the country marked Black Consciousness Day. More protests were held across the country over the weekend.
Police in riot gear stormed a rally on Monday, removing hundreds of protesters by truck.
The Carrefour supermarket chain has faced a wave of boycott talks and sometimes violent protests outside its stores across Brazil, which has been compared to the assassination of George Floyd in the US in May and the subsequent protests.
On Monday, shares in the French group’s Brazilian unit fell six percent in afternoon trading on the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange and in Paris, Carrefour shares closed 2.2 percent.
The supermarket chain promised to earmark about $ 5 million to fight racism.
In Brazil, the last country in America to abolish slavery – 1888 – more than half of the country’s 212 million people identify as black or mixed race.