Black man beaten to death by security outside supermarket in Brazil

RIO DE JANEIRO — A Black man died after being savagely beaten by two supermarket security guards in southern Brazil late Thursday.

The incident ignited widespread outrage over structural racism and the violent treatment of Black Brazilians by security forces.

Video shows a man identified as João Alberto Silveira Freitas, 40, being held by one of the security guards as another struck him repeatedly in the face outside the entrance of a Carrefour grocery store in the city of Porto Alegre.

The man can be heard crying out, and he is forcefully brought to the blood-slicked ground and restrained.

Video afterward shows emergency responders failing to resuscitate him.

The two guards, one of whom was an off-duty police officer, were arrested and are being investigated for homicide.

It remains unclear what preceded the violence Thursday evening.

Freitas’s wife told police they had gone to the store to shop. A confrontation followed between Freitas and a store employee.

Freitas’s wife said her husband had made a gesture that wasn’t specified. 

Brazilian news outlets reported that Freitas allegedly threatened to punch the worker, who called security to take him out of the store.

Carrefour released a statement saying it has closed the store out of respect to the victim and vowed to hold to account those responsible. It said it has terminated its contract with the security provider.

The grocery store giant has been controversial in Brazil. In August, a man died in one store in the northern city of Recife, but his body was covered with umbrellas and the store continued to function for hours afterward. In 2018, a security guard beat to death a popular local dog with a metal bar.