Although people received their information about the stabbing of Vanderli Augusto Rodrigues from the News-Times, you really realize how limited the mainstream media is when it comes to reporting on issues in the immigrant community (as well as how insensitive they are when it comes to allowing hate-mongers to post racist comments) once you read the Emanuela Lima's write-up on the murder in this week's Tribuna newspaper
Her piece chronicles the impact the murder had on everyone effected by this tragedy as well as the outrage from the community over the disgusting, hate-filled, racist comments that were posted on the News-Times website. The paper has been widely criticized for doing a horrible job in monitoring their comments section
and many in the media who I know are astonished that the paper hasn't apologized for the unfortunate incident).
All Vanderli Augusto Rodrigues wanted to do in United States was to work hard and save enough money to buy his own house and give his parents a more comfortable life Brazil.
In the early morning hours of April 15, Rodrigues’ plans were cut short, literally – he was murdered with a single stab wound to the chest in the kitchen of the one-bedroom apartment he shared with other five men. Only one of the roommates was not at the apartment when the murder occurred, shortly before 2:11am; the other four told Danbury police they were asleep.
They were awakened by the sound of a thud when Rodrigues’s body hit the floor and realized soon after, that Laudimilson Teixeira, one of the roommates, was gone.
Just seven hours after the first 911 call that had reported the assault, another call and a tip through the emergency line alerted police that Teixeira was in hiding in a basement apartment less than 60 feet (18 meters) from the crime scene.
Teixeira, 29, was charged with murder and held at the Danbury jail on $1 million bond. According to information given at his arraignment on April 16, Teixeira was born in Brazil and came to the United States 2-1/2 years ago. He is due back in court April 30, and a probable cause hearing is set for May 30. A roommate, in a phone interview with the Tribuna, said that Rodrigues was the “last person on earth” that he imagined would die a violent death.
SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY
The evening before the murder, Rodrigues visited his sister, Maria das Graças and her 18-year old daughter Adriana, at their apartment at Belmont Circle
“I cooked for him, we called our parents and grandmother; then I invited him to go to church with us afterwards - he said no, but asked me to pray for him,” Graças shared.
Graças explained that she was constantly giving her 33-year-old brother advice on what she referred to as “his only weakness” – heavy alcohol consumption.
“I was always urging him to go back to church to help him overcome his problem. He was a loving, humble, simple man – he was a good person,” said Graças through her tears. Her daughter Adriana explained that Rodrigues used to live with them, but had moved out two years ago because she and her mother didn’t approve of his drinking. “My mother always looked after him, even after he moved out, cooking and helping him with his laundry,” she said.
“THIS IS ABOUT A HUMAN BEING”
On April 16, the medical examiner’s office in Farmington asked that a family member identify the victim’s body. Adriana said her mother had been in a state of complete emotional shock and was unable to do so, “I had to go – it was the worst experience of my life.”
When Adriana returned home and logged on to her computer to check for news on the arraignment, she was shocked by the comments posted by on-line readers at the News-Times website in response to articles about the murder, “How can people not see that this is about a human being? How can they be so disrespectful?”
She was referring to the nature of the comments related to her uncle’s undocumented status, such as “The bottom line here is that if these illegals were not here this death would not have occurred” or “They should have the funeral in front of the INS building and see if anyone comes.”
Elke Probst, is the owner of the Belmont Circle property where Graças resides, was also taken back by some of the comments. “I just hope people are able to place themselves in this family’s shoes and give them the support they need by rallying together as a community” said Probst.
At this point, the editors of the News-Times should contact the members of Rodrigues' family who had to endure the disgusting comments that weren't deleted from their site. To allow the bottom-feeding racists to spout their hatred freely is a disgrace and brings shame to the city as a whole. The News-Times has a responsibility to remove hate-speech from their site and it's apparent that they have a serious problem monitoring themselves, they should get rid of the comments altogether and keep the chatter from readers in the forums.
Hats off to Tribuna for bringing humanity back to this tragic story. Shame
on the News-Times for not only dropping the ball with their shabby reporting, but for their lack of sensitivity to the family members who had to endure reading bigoted comments on the newspaper's website.