Why this story matters:
Nicol Quinayas is a 21-year-old Colombian woman who has lived in Portugal since she was five. On the night of the June 24, she was coming home after partying with her friends at the popular Saint John festivities in the city of Porto.
She had joined her friends on the line to enter a bus when some other passengers accused her of cutting in front of them. She claims she told the other passengers she was meeting her friends, but offered to go to the end of the line. "Never mind," they replied.
But when she entered the bus, the security officer on the bus had a different understanding of what had ocured. "You won't get inside", he said, kicking her out. What followed was a series of physical and verbal abuses that left her in need of medical treatment.
"You won't get inside, fucking n----r. You can't come here and cut the line, go catch a bus back to your country."
Those are the words Nicol claims he said, making this assault most likely a racially motivated one. "These n-----s just don't learn", he added. A video surfaced of the guard restraining Nicol on the ground, as well as pictures that clearly show her facial injuries.
Over the next few days, the newspaper Público unveiled the police report, which was only filed three days after the incident, even though it had been immediately reported.
The public bus company and the state's attorney reacted swiftly: the guard was suspended pending an inquiry and a state investigation is also underway. "The government won't tolerate violence or racist and xenophobic outbursts," the Interior Ministry claimed. Is this really true?
Details from the story:
- Nicol is 1.59 meters tall and weighs 55 kilos. "I am a small chicken", she says.
- The passers-by didn't intervene, even though some are heard in the video criticizing the guard. "He had a uniform on, people felt respectful," Nicol explains.
- Nicol and her friends claim the Police didn't ask for her data when interviewing her after the incident. Still, they talked thoroughly with the guard, who was smoking a cigarette after the assault.
- The association Racism SOS claims this is "another example of racist and xenophobic discrimination in Portugal" and criticizes the Police's response, which it defines as "short."