Warning: Distressing Content
A video of a black teenager getting whipped with electric cable for allegedly stealing chocolate in Brazil has sparked outrage.
Stripped naked and gagged, the 17-year-old boy was forced to endure the torture by two security guards last month at a supermarket in the South Zone of São Paulo.
Police opened an inquiry on Monday (September 2) – approximately one month after the beating happened – due to the video going viral on social media.
In the video we will not publish in this article the teenager can be seen crying out in pain as he is repeatedly whipped by the guards. When one of the guards asks, Are you going to come back?, the boy can only respond by shaking his head due to the gag in his mouth.
This inhumane treatment came about after the boy allegedly stole four bars of chocolate from a Ricoy supermarket, The Guardian reports. Sparking outrage among many who have drawn comparisons with Brazils centuries-long treatment of black people when the country still imported slaves, the video has since been widely shared.
The detective investigating the case, Pedro Luis de Souza, said the incident was like a scene from centuries ago, adding that the victim was a defenceless, homeless black man. A victim of society, he added.
The teenager, who has been living on the streets since he was 12 years old, said he was beaten for approximately 40 minutes without a break, local newspaper Folha de S.Paulo reports (translated to English). Investigators said the teenager did not want to file a police report because he feared for his life.
In an interview with TV Globo, as per The Guardian, the 17-year-old said this was the third time he had been assaulted by the same two security guards after stealing from the store.
He said they threatened him to keep quiet, telling the television network:
They said if I spoke to anyone, they would kill me.
Detective Souza said he will indict the security guards for torture, a crime which carries a prison sentence of up to eight years. Describing the incident as a cowardly, extremely violent, and nameless crime, Souza said he couldnt watch the video until the end because of its barbaric nature.
In a statement, the supermarket said the two guards – from a subcontracted company – were no longer working at the supermarket.
The statement read, as per The Guardian:
We were shocked by the gratuitous and meaningless torture on a teenage victim. We will give all the support needed.