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Brazilian maestro beaten up by Spanish police. Racial motive alleged.

We have been sent the following report from O Globo, in Brazil. Here is a summary:

israel da franca

Israel de França, a Brazilian conductor and violinist, was assaulted by Spanish Police on this Christmas Eve, Monday 24th, in Granada, where he lives. He was sitting at a bar with a friend when four Spanish Police Officers took him out against his will and with no charges filed, brought him to a nearby building and beat him.

Says Israel: “We were at ease, both of us, they took me to a building where three Police officers came in, hurt me pretty and gave me a strong beating and kicking. My Brazilian friend stayed outside with a police officer. I am black and my friend is white, and this is something that is adversely affecting my life here in Spain. Now I want to take action. I didn’t immediately contact the Brazilian Embassy, but will do that tomorrow, 25th.

‘I spent the whole day at the hospital, doing examinations, an x-ray on my arm, on my left hand which now prevents me from playing violin, and I have an important concert on Thursday. My left leg and arm are badly hurt, and I have lesions throughout my body. I am the conductor of the choir for the College of Lawyers here, and all are on my side and will be taking action on the 25th.’

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  1. Robert Fitzpatrick says:

    Here’s a case from 2002. I know the victim and he was so traumatized by this treatment that he quit his job as principal trumpet and left Spain.

    Maybe Brussells can stop worrying about unpasteurized cheese, and pay attention to issues like this in some European countries.

  2. Yeah, sure, every time a non-white person is arrested in Europe there are racial reasons.
    “Yes, we were doing nothing… the police just arrived, we were minding our own business, and out of nowhere we were brutally attacked”. No way, policemen/women don’t go around harrasing people, that’s something more usual in the Spanish speaking americas and Africa. Let’s be serious.

    • Unfortunately this is no unusual in Spain.

      In 2006 a Romanian citizen was arrested and tortured by 4 policemen in Barcelona. In 2008 those policemen were convicted for torture, but government pardoned them and they will return to service soon.

      The Romanian citizen was a son of a diplomatic, in other case may be we would never know anything about this case.

      Something is very rotten in Spain.

      A Spaniard.

    • Speed25: Were you there? If not, then why make a fool of yourself with judgments like those you’ve just uttered?

      • I have lived in Spain playing in one of their orchestras, and I have witnessed a couple of times how black people and romanian gypsies shouted “police brutallity!” when being arrested (and resisting arrest). Let’s see what the judge says…

  3. This said, if the judje says that’s what happen let’s up these policeman are put in jail for a long time!

  4. JoaoPereira says:

    While I do agree that prejudice is sometimes used as an excuse to avoid the law and that details are often omitted on the media , I also disagree with you about your view on Spain. Spain, Portugal, and Italy (countries I personally know well) and probably others in Europe.. These cultures are extremely racist. You may talk about Latin America, if you have knowledge on that, but Brazil, for instance, is, in my opinion, way less racist than the above mentioned European countries (I’m not saying that there’s no racism in Brazil, but it’s just not as severe as in other countries).

  5. Racism and xenophopia, the legacy of Franco to Spain. Police violence is Spain fairly new – it’s coming up a lot in the austerity demonstrations in the large cities. Huge issue right now. Put the 2 together and this is what you get.

    No reports yet on this in the Spanish press. Don’t expect to see anything, if at all, until well after the holidays. If anything appears there may be a spin on it. This is why it’s great you’ve got the word out, Mr. Lebrecht.

    This unfortunate incident is the underbelly of what many foreigners working in Spain right now experience. We all know what OBC’s African-American Principal Trumpet, Rodney, suffered a number of yrs. ago. Well, with the crisis it’s intensifying. There’s resentment for foreigners holding jobs. Big resentment for immigrants, especially, from Morocco, who are often of color, and who come into Spain for health care and other benefits. A Brazilian of color could easily be confused with a Moroccan of color by ignorant police.

    Interesting that this took place in Federico Garcia Lorca’s hometown. It was in Granada where the great poet, who did not sit well the dictator Franco because of the power his writing and his homosexuality, was shot to death by Franco’s firing squad.

    It will be interesting to see how the Spanish press justifies this, if they even try. . .

  6. You can see how nice is the spanish police:
    And they are not racists they hit everyone:

  7. That’s it. We are not racists. Our police simply beats you if you are poor, bad-fashioned, hippy, immigrant, pothead without further discrimination in case you are in the bad place at the bad time :). As a musician but above all as a human being I am really sorry what happened to our brazilian friend. Never met a single brazilian here in Barcelona that wasn’t truly friendly, nice and polite to me. Even with some racism among old farts and young conservative dickheads; brazilians (as well as cubans for instance) are regarded as passional, cultured and musical people by evryone!!!. Unfortunately it is also true that when it happens to be a north african or romanian as you were discussing, chances are most of the people thinks (s)he is doing something dirty.

  8. As a personal observation, I would like to add that as a foreigner in Spain, my experiences with the police have been nothing but positive. To me, they’ve been helpful, kind, respectful and always gone out of their way to help. They’ve been particularly helpful when I’ve experienced difficulties with xenophobic Spanish co-workers. Death threats, for example.

    But I would add that I am northern European in appearance, well-educated, and extemely respectful of the law.I don’t think it’s particularly the police in Spain who have the problem with racism or xenophobia, it’s the population in general. Particularly those who come from smaller pueblos, with little experience with foreigners.

    It doesn’t usually manifest itself in physical violence, but it’s a very strong undercurrent which pops up on a regular basis in the lives of most foreigners who are trying to live and work in Spain. The crisis is making it more prominent.

  9. I am Spanish and I just want to say this is our police from a few years back. Beat people hard, very hard. Hidden identifications, impunity and scare people with threats worthy of the mob. This is the new order, keep silence and you will be ok. Complain and get ready for hospital

  10. Here’s the 1st report of the incident in Spanish:

    Police say they were called to to the bar on Dec. 23 at the request of the bar owner who complained about 2 drunk people arguing loudly. The police deny using any force.

    Israel de França has filed a “denuncia” with local authorities describing what happened. He says he was in the bar after a playing an indoor soccer match with friends. He was wearing a track suit with “Brasil” on it. He says the police demanded his identification, which he provided, then took him to a corner and hit and slapped him with open hands. He sustained numerous injuries.

    Israel de França is employed by the Orquesta of the City of Granada. He is a member of the 2nd violin section. He is also founder of a program to bring classical music to young children in Granada. He has resided in Granada for 22 yrs. and his wife and children are Spanish citizens.

    Mr. de França states in this article that it his intention to pursue punishment of these police officers to the maximum. He does not believe they should be free to walk the streets after this incident.

    If Mr. de França is indeed, as stated earlier, chorusmaster for Granada’s Lawyers’ Choir, I think these police have messed with the wrong guy.

    • Well, very often the best defence against charges for public order offences is claiming that the police acted wrongly.

      • Speed25,

        I’m thinking you mean public DISorder offences. I understand what you’re saying but that’s not the issue here. No mention so far of any disorder on de Franca’s part.

        There is no possible excuse for police violence against a guy who was sitting in a bar having a drink with a friend. He was dragged outside and beaten up by the police, according to his report.

  11. Peter Freeman says:

    What do you expect? They treat people the same way they are brought up to treat bulls. I would never again choose to visit that thus primitive and inhumane country or buy its exports or services. Perhaps Catalonia only until the rest bans the cruelty!

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