Young Black Man Suffers False Accusation of Theft in Rio

Matheus Ribeiro, a22 year old Black man revealed having suffered a false accusation of the theft of an electric bicycle in Leblon, a south zone neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro. The surfing instructor said he wants the case to serve as an example for other victims to denounce acts of racism.

“This is not a personal problem. It’s a problem that is deeply rooted in society,” he said in an interview with RJ2 (Globo), this Tuesday (15).

Matheus was waiting for his girlfriend in front of a mall on Saturday (12), Valentine’s Day, when a white couple accused him of having taken the girl’s bicycle.

Matheus Pereira
Matheus Pereira.

According to the surfing instructor, despite having shown old photos in which he appears with the bicycle, which is his, the young man who made the accusation took the padlock, tried to open it and, when he couldn’t, realized the mistake and said that he was “just asking, no accusation.”

Ribeiro published a video of the final part of the conversation on his social media and the case gained great repercussions.

For him, it is important that other stories also stand out.

“I don’t want to emphasize just my case,” he said. “Every time this happens to a Black person, let him feel strong enough to denounce it, to show his face, to show and say that this is not right. We will not accept this.”

The situation experienced by the surfing instructor motivated several reactions, such as that of federal representative Talíria Petrone (PSOL-RJ). “Black people can have the same thing as you. He’s a racist,” she said.

“Racism forces Black people to live prepared for the worst, always having to explain themselves. It is revolting to always be the suspect in the eyes of racists,” stated federal congressman Orlando Silva (PC do B).

Matheus Ribeiro filed a police report about the false accusation and the case is being investigated by the 14th Police District.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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