A Black Man Was Tortured and Killed in Denmark. The Police Insist It Wasn’t About Race.

A younger Black man was tortured and killed on a distant island in Denmark by two white males with identified far-right affiliations, considered one of them with a swastika tattoo on his leg, however the authorities are refusing to name it a hate crime.

Noting that the sufferer, Phillip Mbuji Johansen, and his attackers knew each other, the prosecutor, Benthe Pedersen Lund, instructed a neighborhood newspaper that the killing had nothing to do with “skin color” however with “a personal relationship that has gone wrong.”

Denmark adopted a hate crimes statute in 2004, however activists, buddies and members of the family, citing the grisly circumstances of the killing, say the authorities are sometimes too reluctant to acknowledge racially impressed violence.

“It took three days for the police inspector and state prosecutor to completely refute that it is racially motivated, despite all the evidence pointing toward it,” mentioned Awa Konaté, a Danish-Ivorian activist who teaches African cultural awareness. “This shows this is a systemic issue.”

Mr. Johansen (he typically recognized as Mbuji Johansen), a 28-year-old engineering pupil of Danish and Tanzanian descent, got here to the island of Bornholm to go to his mom final week. He went to a celebration on Monday and was later invited for a beer in the woods, his mom instructed the native Ekstra Bladet newspaper.

The subsequent morning, Mr. Johansen’s mutilated physique was discovered at a camp website. According to the preliminary indictment, his cranium was damaged after he was overwhelmed a number of instances with a wood beam; he was stabbed a number of instances; a knife was pushed by way of his throat and a knee had been planted in his neck. He died someday early Tuesday, based on a forensic report.

Two native males — brothers, aged 23 and 25 — have been arrested on Wednesday on manslaughter expenses. The police say the boys have admitted to beating Mr. Johansen, however deny killing him. Mr. Johansen’s mom, who requested to stay nameless, instructed native information retailers that one of many two suspects was an previous pal of her son.

The suspects haven’t but been recognized publicly. One of them has a swastika and the phrases “white power” tattooed on his leg. The different suspect has expressed support for a Danish excessive proper occasion, known as Stram Kurs, or “Hard Line,” and not too long ago posted a message of help for White Lives Matter on his Facebook web page, based on Redox, a left-activist analysis group.

Denmark, a Nordic nation that prides itself on its progressive attitudes, has suffered an upsurge in racial violence not too long ago. Between 2007 and 2016, racially motivated hate crimes in Denmark greater than quadrupled, the European Union mentioned in a 2018 report.

In response to the worldwide protests over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, right-wing extremists of the Nordic Resistance Movement, an underground group, have put up White Lives Matter posters in at the least two cities in Denmark.

Some Danish information retailers have famous {that a} knee was pressed laborious towards Mr. Johansen’s neck, simply as in the killing of Mr. Floyd, in addition to the hard-right affiliation of each suspects. The story has however principally been handled as a “homicide” and has acquired solely modest information protection.

Danish police and judicial officers have gone out of their method to disavow any connection between the killings of Mr. Floyd and Mr. Mjubi or, for that matter, that race was an element.

Daniel Villaindulu, a detailed household pal, strongly disagreed. “He was tortured for hours,” Mr. Villaindulu mentioned, noting that he and Mr. Johansen have been among the many few Black folks on the island of Bornholm.

“They say there was jealousy over something,” he mentioned in a phone interview, “but when you add everything up and you know these guys had a swastika tattoo and are right wingers, you can image why it ended like this.”

Another household pal, Tobias Krahmer, instructed native information retailers that he thought the killing was not racially motivated. But activists say Mr. Krahmer, who’s white, ripped down a “Black Lives Matter” banner exterior the Bornholm courthouse on Friday.

“You can’t compare what is happening in the U.S. to this horrible crime on Bornholm,” Mr. Krahmer instructed a neighborhood tv community, TV2. “It’s all different. Do not pull the racism card and start a heated debate about this being a hate crime.”

Local activists see a sample of denial in Denmark with regards to racially motivated crimes, a few of which they attribute to rising anti-immigrant attitudes. In one prominent case in 2017, the police dominated out race as an element when a 16-year previous Afghan boy was set on fireplace by 4 schoolmates.

In 2018, a center-right authorities launched the “ghetto law,” which allowed courts to double punishments for sure crimes towards residents of 25 disadvantaged, closely Muslim neighborhoods that have been categorised as ghettos, based mostly on residents’ earnings, employment standing, schooling ranges, variety of felony convictions and “non-Western background.”

Another measure imposes a four-year jail sentence on immigrant dad and mom who drive their youngsters to make prolonged visits to their nation of origin — described as “re-education trips” — that might discourage their assimilation by damaging their “schooling, language and well-being.”

“Conversations about racism exist often on the periphery through conversations by activists and community organizers — rarely by politicians or public figures,” mentioned Ms. Konaté, the activist. “The extent of racism in Denmark is absolute denial of its existence. Although there is so much evidence pointing to the murder being racially motivated, the police, the prosecutor and even the victim’s friend, who is white, deny any connection.”

Mr. Johansen had nearly completed his research and had not too long ago moved to Roskilde, a Danish metropolis that’s host to a significant annual rock festival. On his Facebook page, he shared photographs of Bornholm, and his posts confirmed his love for engineering and nature. The header of his web page reads: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

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