Black Teenager Killed In Brazil Sparks ‘Black Lives Matter’ Protests

By Sharelle Burt


The city of Rio de Janeiro is up in arms after a grocery store security guard killed an Afro-Brazilian teenager.

Pedro Gonzaga, 19, died of a heart attack last week after he was put in a “sleeper hold” by Davi Amâncio. A supermarket spokesperson claims that Amâncio was trying to apprehend Gonzaga following an attempt to steal. Video recorded by a bystander shows incident shows the victim lying motionless while he was pinned down by the security guard. Numerous witnesses can be heard saying, “he’s suffocating him!” Another witness yelled that the young man was turning purple.

“After the individual was restrained by the security guards, the store called the police and the rescue immediately,” a statement from the supermarket said. “The company has already filed an incident report and is cooperating with the authorities to further investigations.” Protests erupted in the streets of Rio and other cities, sparking the start of a Black Lives Matter movement in Brazil and pushing the hashtag #VidasNegrasImportam to viral status. “There has never been a Black Lives Matter movement in Brazil to compare to the United States, but this year I think it will happen more often because the black community is more and more united,” protest organizer Rene Silva said. “We want to talk about more about black lives matter, and for society to understand we can’t stand racism anymore.”

RELATED: What It Means To Be Black In Rio de Janeiro 

Black and mixed-race citizens account for a little more than half of the country’s population. They also make up over 70 percent of violence victims in Brazil each year. And this is not the first time an incident like this has happened. Black activist and city councilwoman Marielle Franco was murdered last year. There is speculation that the incident was a political assassination.

Media outlets tried to paint Gonzaga as a drug dealer with a troubled past. The O Globo newspaper said the teen was on his way to rehab with his mother, Dinalva Oliveira, when they stopped at the grocery store for lunch. Then the newspaper said Gonzaga had some kind of temper tantrum. Celebrities and friends that knew the victim are frustrated over the incident and the way the media is trying to spin the story. One supporter quoted an Elza Soares song saying, “the cheapest meat at the supermarket is black meat.” Another friend of the 19-year-old told O Globo that Gonzaga was “a good person.”

Travel Noire

Sharelle Burt

Want more?

Get exclusive, unpublished tips from Travel Noire's CEO to help you get off the beaten path, into the hearts of locals and onto a better, more cultured life.

Tourists From These Four Countries Can Now Travel To Brazil Visa-Free

Tourists From These Four Countries Can Now Travel To Brazil Visa-Free

As of June 17, travelers from the United States, Canada, Japan and Australia will be able to travel to Brazil visa-free. Previously, Brazil was known as a country that made it difficult for Americans to visit. Visas were expensive and obtaining one, required a visit to the consulate. Now, you will be able to experience […]

Kelsey Marie

Brazil To Treat Homophobia And Transphobia As A Crime

Brazil To Treat Homophobia And Transphobia As A Crime

Just in time for International Pride Month, Brazil’s Supreme Court has ruled in favor of equality by voting that discrimination and violence on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity are crimes equivalent to racism. The court’s next task will be to pass specific legislation that protects the LGBTQ community. The case was brought […]

Danielle Dorsey

The Best Destinations For The Month Of June

The Best Destinations For The Month Of June

The joy June brings with the longest day of the year, the official start of summer, warm weather, and blooming flowers, means that it comes to no surprise that it’s one of the best times of years to travel.  Related Post: Summer Travel Guide: Save On These Destinations With its popularity, June can also be […]

Parker Diakite