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‘This Compliment Killed Him’: A Disabled Nigerian Vendor is Beaten to Death in Italy While Onlookers Captured Video. Immigrant Advocate Says the Victim Was Attacked for Telling a Woman She was Beautiful.

A disabled Nigerian man was pummeled to death last week in Italy while bystanders stood by and watched.

A viral video shows Filippo Ferlazzo, 32, sitting on and wrestling with Alika Ogorchukwu, as the man who used a crutch to get around struggled to fight him off for four minutes. Onlookers on the busy street in Civitanova Marche, a beach town on the Adriatic Sea, captured the incident on Friday, but none stopped the beating. Police said Ferlazzo grabbed Ogorchukwu’s crutch and struck him down.

The incident has spurred outrage from political leaders and citizens throughout Italy, but investigators have stopped short of calling it a racially motivated crime. Accounts of what led to the attack also differ. Some witnesses say Ferlazzo took issue with the African immigrant begging for money. An immigration advocate said the Italian factory worker was enraged that Ogorchukwu complimented his girlfriend.

Hundreds of people demonstrated against the brutal killing the following day. Nigerians, including the Ogorchukwu’s wife, took to the same street in Civitanova Marche, where the angry stranger snuffed out his life. “We want justice, enough racism against Blacks,” some protesters shouted. Others shouted the dead man’s name and held his photograph.

“The tragic fact is that there were many people nearby. They filmed, saying ‘Stop,’ but no one moved to separate them,” said Daniel Amanza, who runs the ACSIM association for immigrants.

Ogorchukwu, 39, emigrated to Italy about 10 years ago to join his wife, Charity Oriachi, and the couple shared at least one child. He was struck by a car last year and lost his job as a laborer, so Ogorchukwu started selling goods on the street corner to make ends meet.

Authorities said the Nigerian man tried to sell some of his items to Ferlazzo and his girlfriend, and when they declined, he asked for change. The New York Times reports that Ogorchukwu walked away, but investigator Matteo Luconi told Sky TG24 that the assailant lashed out after the vendor made “insistent” requests. He said the witnesses called police and rendered aid to the man after the attacker fled. Authorities tracked down Ferlazzo through street surveillance cameras.

“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, hitting him repeatedly with his bare hands,” the town’s chief commissioner, Fabio Mazza, said during a press conference.

However, Amanza told The Associated Press that Ogorchukwu told the attacker’s girlfriend she was beautiful.

“This compliment killed him,” Amanza said. Ferlazzo also took the victim’s cellphone.

Marche has reportedly been the scene of other attacks on African immigrants. In February 2018, Luca Traini, an Italian right-wing sympathizer, shot and wounded six immigrants from Ghana, Mali and Nigeria, about 19 miles from Civitanova. A Nigerian man was killed defending his wife from racist slurs in another nearby town in 2016. The couple was awaiting asylum after escaping Boko Haram, an Islamic terrorist group in Nigeria.

“Here, there is a ferocious racism against us,” a Black protester named Anthony told The Standard Gazette. “Yet, we do the jobs that the Italians no longer want to do.”

Ferlazzo was charged with homicide and robbery. The attacker’s attorney said his client has mental health problems.

“He is in a state of confusion. He is a boy with psychiatric problems. He has a civil disability recognized at 100 percent,” Roberta Bizzarri told La Repubblica. “He has been undergoing support administration for some time.”

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