Note from BW of Brazil: In past articles, I have noted how every once in a while you’ll see something happen in Brazil that happened in the United States (or vice versa) in a relatively short difference of time. Well, when I saw this incident start springing up in social networks yesterday, I admit to having to do a double take after I saw the photo.
What were the details behind this latest absurdity? The details are below, but let me just give you a quick summary and you can just try to remember what recent world news making incident it reminds you of. Police agents stop a male. Words and questions are exchanged and soon the approach escalates into aggressive actions on the part of the police. With the young black male already on the ground after having been put in a headlock, the Military Police officer proceeds to kneel and press his knee against the chest of the young male. Young male tells officer that he can’t breathe.
Remind you of any recent incidents? Of course, this happened in a Brazil in which police agents are particularly brutal, aggressive, violent and deadly with the black and brown population, and as such, it can’t really be that surprising. But at the same time you have to be wondering, what the eff is going on? I mean, after the worldwide reactions to a similar incident, how is it that this police agent didn’t think that putting his knee in a man’s chest may not be a good idea? Unless, of course, he was trained to do so.
“I said I couldn’t breathe, he said ‘shut up, this is Military Police'”: In the city of Carapicuíba, police caught on film with knee in the chest of black delivery boy
With information from R7, UOL and Esquerda Diário
Governor João Doria’s racist Military Police strangled a 19-year-old black delivery boy twice in Carapicuíba, SP. Local residents recorded videos that are on social networks and reveal the MP’s racism. The young man, who didn’t identify himself out of fear, was strangled twice, once on the ground, when the policeman knelt on his chest, and once standing with a chokehold carried out by another police officer. With the chokehold, the young man passed out and was placed inside the police van unconsciously.
The assault occurred after the two men who were on a motorcycle were approached by military police officers from the 33rd Military Police Battalion, located in the region where the approach took place. According to the note from the SSP (Secretariat of Public Security), the pair disobeyed the stop order and collided the motorcycle into a police vehicle. The assaulted man was driving the motorcycle.
In the videos circulating on social networks, you can see a large number of police officers surrounding the young man who was strangled and his friend who was on the motorcycle at the time of the approach. At the end of the approach, all the policemen together placed the young man in the van unconscious. If he had died, we know that most likely all policemen would be complicit in hiding the body, as is the daily practice of this racist police.
Speaking to the news journal Bom Dia Brasil, the young man protested that he had been the target of this approach only because he didn’t have a motorcycle license: “As much as I’m wrong for not having a license, I’m not a marginal. I am still a human being.”
The young man also denied the police version of the incident. Police claimed that he tried to break through the blockade: “We weren’t even going fast and was he was already saying that we were trying to escape. I told him that he was treating me like that because I was black and was a favelado (slum inhabitant). And he (said) ‘shut up that this is the police here.'”
In his version, the man identified as Gabriel, 19, said the policeman was violent in his approach. According to the news journal, he claimed to have passed out at least three times during the procedure.
“Then the policeman threw everything in front of me. As soon as he threw everything in front of me, I stopped. Only the bike didn’t hold the brake, it went a little forward. Then, as it was already in front of my bike, we crashed. As I jumped off the bike, the bike fell over here and I jumped over there, he thought I was going to run. As he thought I was going to run, he already grabbed my neck,” he said.
In an interview with CNN Brasil, Gabriel says he was accused of trying to escape. He says he warned the police that he couldn’t breathe, but was ignored:
“I said that I wasn’t a criminal, that he didn’t need to do that. I said I couldn’t breathe, he said ‘shut up, this is military police’, he said that the whole time.”
He says he had heard reports of violent police approaches in Jardim Ariston, but he had never experienced anything like this.
Gabriel says he is scared and has nightmares about what happened: “I hope this will end soon, because I don’t want to have those nightmares that I am having anymore. I’m afraid now.”
The action was videotaped by witnesses. At first, a PM applies a chokehold (strangulation blow) to one of the men, dressed in a striped shirt and white shorts. He seems to be unconscious on the ground.
In the meantime, the other man approached was being cursed by the military police.
In the next moment, the same MP is wearing a helmet and kneels on the man’s chest which causes him to struggle.
The scene resembles the circumstances of the death of George Floyd, an African-American man killed after a police approach in the city of Minneapolis. The homicide sparked a wave of protests in the United States and other countries against racism and police violence.
Struggling to live like thousands of other couriers who, during the pandemic, have been doing their best to survive in precarious and overexploited work, this young man is the portrait of the racist society we live in, in which blacks and especially black youth, the place of overexploitation is reserved by some big companies that earn huge profits, and along with that, the police repression of the State, which acts to discipline the black masses, exhaling the legacy of slavery that lives within the Brazilian capitalist state.
While rulers like São Paulo governor João Doria and Rio de Janeiro governor Wilson Witzel make comments that they were concerned about the health of the people in the pandemic, the truth is that they do nothing for the black masses and the working class. On the contrary, they guarantee better conditions for capitalists to exploit this population, also guaranteeing repression, murder, torture through the police apparatus, whether from the approaches of the São Paulo police or from operations that kill black children in Rio de Janeiro.
In a statement to GloboNews, the MP’s spokesman, Captain Osmario Ferreira, spoke about the cases of violence involving the state police.
“The Military Police constantly seeks to analyze their procedures. In those cases, administrative procedures have been put in place to analyze the conduct of the police, to see if standard operating procedures have actually been adopted since the beginning of the incident,” he said.
“All occurrences are analyzed first by military police inquiry and then referred to justice. It’s not for the time being to say what happened in relation to each fact. The Military Police are legalists, they never stopped cutting their own flesh, we have more than 73 thousand daily calls. So, the increase in occurrences are analyzed, daily meetings are held to analyze standard operating procedures and this is a constant in the military police. If there is any failure, it punishes rigorously,” he added.
MPs are removed after asphyxiating young man
The policemen caught asphyxiating Gabriel during the afternoon of last Sunday (21) in Carapicuíba, in the Greater São Paulo, were removed from their duties for the investigation by the Military Police, that will look into the actions of the agents in the occurrence.
According to residentes recording the incident, the police, upon realizing that they were being recorded, made threats saying they would kill them. The young man who was attacked was to undergo a corpus delicti at the IML (Legal Medical Institute) of the city of Osasco yesterday, Monday (22).
The images from Carapicuíba also show a boy in a green tank top who monitored the police stop and handling his cell phone. The policeman immediately orders him to turn off the device and orders him to put his hands back.
A few minutes later, a police vehicle arrives and the images show the young man, who was immobilized, in the gutter having already fainted. You can hear a policeman say, “This is my police, you think it’s a joke here”.
After having passed out and being put in a police vehicle and rescued, he has recovered and is doing well. According to the Military Police, the motorcycle used by the youth was stolen, which motivated the police approach.
In a note, the SSP (Secretariat of Public Security) reported that “the police involved in the incident were heard last night and the unit’s command opened an investigation to investigate all the circumstances of the case. As a precaution, the police were removed from administrative duties and the images cited are being analyzed by the institution.
SP announces ‘retraining’ of PMs
The governor of São Paulo, João Doria, said on Monday (22) that state security agents will undergo a retraining (see note one) program in July. The measure, released during a press conference at the Palácio dos Bandeirantes, in São Paulo, comes after a series of episodes involving military police suspected of assault and murder.
“There is no condescension to police violence, under any justification. São Paulo has 85,000 military police officers and 20,000 civilian police officers. It is incompatible with a well-prepared police that a minority representing less than 1% could compromise 99% of a serious police prepared to protect people and people’s assets,” said Doria.
“On Monday morning, I instructed General João Campos, who is recovering from the Covid-19 at his home, to implement a retraining program in July, Retreinar, to serve lieutenants, colonels, majors, captains and sergeants of the Military Police,” highlighted the governor.
- I find it intriguing that the governor speaks of “re-training” police forces when São Paulo are annually some of the most brutal in Brazil. The numbers of deaths due to police actions in the state since 2012 are as follows: 2019, 867 deaths, 2018, 851, 2017, 940, 2016, 857, 2015, 832, 2014, 879, 2013, 540 and in 2012, 655. With such outrageous numbers, I would argue that the issue isn’t a need for “re-training” but rather intention. To put this into proper context, compare this to data from police agents of the ENTIRE United States where killings by law enforcement officers were 1,649 in 2012, 1,629 (2013), 1,486 (2014), 1,356 (2015), 1,356 (2016), 1,767 (2017), 1,603 (2018) and 1,536 in 2019.