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Note from BW of Brazil: Of course, as with any other story that we report in which there are conflicting stories, we must always wait for more details to arise before passing judgement. And this is certainly the case in today’s story. But what we do know from past posts is that Brazil’s Military Police is brutal, particularly against Afro-Brazilians. And with a police force that is five times more deadly than police in the United States, if one were to believe that Brazil’s police had a license to kill, it would be understandable. Again, I wasn’t there, but I find it a little unbelievable that such a small woman would risk serious bodily injury or even death as it turns out to physically assault Military Police soldiers, especially given their reputation of their treatment of civilians. Check out the story below and come to your own conclusions. As you read this story about the death of another black woman, please remember how police treated Cláudia Ferreira da Silva a few years ago in Rio de Janeiro.
Luana: mother, black, poor, lesbian, dead after being beaten by three Military Police
Sought by Ponte Jornalismo, the last three investigated for the death of Luana have not issued a statement
By Alê Alves and André Caramante
“Run, they’re going to kill Luana”. This was the warning of a neighbor that relatives of Luana Barbosa dos Reis Santos, 34, began to understand the reason for the screams and shots that took their neighborhood on the night of April the 8th.
Stopping to greet a friend who was in the bar at the corner of her house in the Jardim Paiva II neighborhood on the outskirts of Ribeirão Preto, Luana was stopped and beaten by Military Police (MP) and died five days later due to a cerebral ischemia caused by a cranial trauma.
PMs Douglas Luiz de Paula, Fábio Donizeti Pultz and André Donizeti Camilo, of the 51st corporate battalion, are being investigated on suspicion of the beating that caused Luana’s death.
Sought since April 19th to speak out about the death of Luana, the general commander of the Military Police, Colonel Ricardo Gambaroni, remained silent. The same happened to the MP’s Communications Sector.
The report also requested interviews with the three MPs investigated for causing the death of Luana, but the PM didn’t respond to the request.
According to her sister Roseli, Luana left home to take her son to a computer course, in the city’s downtown. “It was a matter of ten minutes that the screams and shots started. Opening the gate, there was already a war scene with police pointing a gun, neighbors running and my sister screaming for help,” she says.
As she approached the bar with other family members, Roseli says she saw her kneeling sister, hands behind her, with black shorts, shirtless and with only a top. According to her, there were two police immobilizing Luana, one of them with blood on his lip – the same police officer pointed a gun at Roseli and her mother saying “go [in your house], it not you die.”
In a video recorded by relatives after the aggressions, Luana says police ordered her to lower her head and put her hands back: “Then I started to take a beating, they had already given me a punch and a kick.” Roseli told her sister that she was accused of assaulting a police officer and says she saw a police officer with a bruised mouth. “Because they handcuffed me, they gave me a punch and a kick,” says Luana.
Luana was beaten by three MPs on the outskirts of Ribeirão Preto (São Paulo state). In the video, she says still, “He said he would kill me and kill everyone in my family. I threw up until I was bleeding. He said he will kill everyone. Not only me no, they’ll even kill my son. My son is dead, they said.”
Witnesses reported to the family that police kicked Luana to make her open her legs, which made her fall to the ground. To get up, Luana punched one of the officers and kicked the leg of another. Since then, the police started beating Luana with batons and with the helmet she wore when riding the moped.
One family member reported that Luana had many bruises in the area below her navel. “People who were at the bar said that she took many helmet blows to the abdomen and from batons as well,” reports the relative who arrived at the scene when Luana was already in the Military Police car.
In the house of relatives
Roseli says, after threatening her and her mother, police entered their house, some of them escorting Luana’s son. They asked if she lived there, if she used or dealt drugs, if she stole, what type of work she did and searched her room and objects of other family members.
Luana Santos, 34, dies after being beaten by Military Police
“The police didn’t speak because approached her and left from the house without saying what they were looking for. I asked what had happened, they said that she had assaulted a police officer and they were doing a normal procedure in the neighborhood,” says Roseli. Then the police went to the home of Luana’s companion and repeated questions and pat downs.
Family members said they could not approach Luana, because the area was cordoned off by Military Police cars. “The police gave into the air and threatened neighbors who tried to approach and enter my mother’s house,” reports a relative of Luana.
According to witnesses, Luana’s son, 14, witnessed everything, was escorted by police. “We have tried in every way, but he didn’t talk to us. I think he’s in shock,” says another family member, who also declined to be identified.
Signature with eyes closed
Asked about Luana and the moped, police said she and the vehicle, with documents in order and only a small problem in the plate seal had been taken to the 1st Police District. At the police station, only one family had authorized entry. He says Luana was handcuffed, in “only a top and black underwear.” “I put a shirt on her. She was half lying on a couch, with eyes closed, swelling in her head and throwing up some white stuff,” says the family member.
He said he talked to her for a few minutes, and requested her removal from the station then. About an hour later he came again: “They called me to make her sign the Termo Circunstanciado (registration of incident) and the police report, which they registered for bodily injury and contempt of authority.”
In the Termo Circunstanciado of the case, signed by the delegate of the Civil Police SP, Patrícia de Mariani, Luana’s version for the accusation that she had assaulted one of the MPs is summed up in 23 words in two lines: “The declarant denies the facts. She says she hadn’t assaulted the police and denies having insulted them in the exercise of their functions. Nothing else.”
After reading the documents, the family helped Luana to sign them. “I threw her on my shoulder and made her sign the B.O. (police report). She wasn’t seeing it, I was trying to guide her to sign. They said that if she didn’t sign, we would not get out,” he says.
“The letter from my sister looks like that of a child, it has nothing to do with her signature. She couldn’t stand up, she seemed like someone who didn’t have any bones,” said Roseli, who saw the document later.
She said it was then that a member of the civil police called, who recommended that she to take Luana to do a forensic examination because she had signs of a beating. As the IML (Instituto Medico Legal/Legal Medical Institute) was already closed at that time, they recommended to return only on Monday.
“I asked what she had done, they said that she had assaulted a police officer and they had calmed her down, because if they wanted to break her, only one police officer had noticed,” says Roseli.
Leaving the station, the family recorded the video in which Luana reports having been threatened. “She was disfigured, almost unconscious when he left. Dirty, just standing up part way, without shoes. She couldn’t open her eyes and had with slurred speech,” says Roseli.
In the video, Luana asks to go home take a shower. Family members say, for fear of reprisals, they decided to honor the request and didn’t register a BO that time. Luana was interned in the hospital only the next day, after a having a fever and complaining of pain.
At the hospital
Being delivered to the Clínicas de Ribeirão Preto Hospital, Luana was already suspected of having a stroke, Roseli reports: “They did tests to confirm the suspicions, but they said it was a serious case and that they didn’t know whether the consequences were reversible.”
From the medical team, Roseli heard that tests showed a blood clot and rupture of veins in Luana’s head.
The forensic examination was carried out only on Tuesday (4/12) morning. “When the hospital requested the forensic examination for the IML, they asked if the patient was the aggressor of the police,” says Roseli. After five days of hospitalization, Luana died of cranial trauma and cerebral ischemia. She had her organs donated by the family.
The version of the police and their challenges
According to the detailed term recorded by police chief Patrícia de Mariani Buldo, the Military Police performed a patrol in the neighborhood, and at seeing Luana’s bike near a bar,” decided to stop and approach the two.”
The second rider (Luana’s son) left “running, on foot” seeing the police vehicle approaching and the police then approached the “author of the facts.” “A neighbor who was there said it’s a lie, that her son didn’t run, the police were with him, at the side of the bike. The child only left the place when they went searching his mother’s house,” counteracts a family member.
The document says that, when approached, Luana “began to undress, took off her helmet and disobeyed police.” One of the officers “requested the author to calm down and put her clothes on,” and then Luana “dealt a blow to the mouth of the same” and “dealt a kick to the leg” of another cop, “which also left a wound and swelling.”
Luana was 34 years old, was the mother of a 14-year old boy and lived on the outskirts of Ribeirão Preto (SP) – According to family, the police came screaming for Luana put her hands on her head, open your legs and show her documents. She asked a police woman to search her, which was not done.
“Even saying that she was a woman, they continued to approach and wanted to search her. After the assault, they said that she still raised her shirt to show that she was a woman, “says Roseli, referring to her sister’s masculinized appearance.
For Luana’ family, she may also have been beaten by Military Police because he had a previous police record, when she was accused of theft and gun possession. Luana left prison in 2009 and, according to Roseli, she continued studying and working as a cleaning woman, waitress and saleswoman.
“She can’t re-do her life? She has no more rights and is not human because of having a (police) run-in? There was no charge against her. Being lesbian, black and from the periphery, with a police run-in, she was already considered guilty,” Roseli contests.
In an ordinary session in Ribeirão Preto’s Câmara dos Vereadores (City Council) on April 19, Roseli talked about her sister’s death: “They are trying to use the fact that she has already has a run-in to convince public opinion that it was deserved. That a good bandit is a dead bandit.”
“Why didn’t they take and arrest her for contempt? Why did they do all of this to her? She had already surrendered, this wasn’t necessary,” questions another family member.
Lesbophobia and racism
“Luana had gone through prejudice before, at a party with her girlfriend. She had already lifted her blouse once to show that she was a woman and didn’t pick up guys,” said Roseli.
For her, Luana was the victim of lesbophobia. “Maybe that stop would have been different if she had dressed differently and had another look. She said she couldn’t stand being stopped here on these streets.”
For Roseli, the first prejudice that showed itself was in reference to her sister’s sexual identity.
The body of Luana’s and Roseli’s father was found by the family in 2013, in the cemetery of Perus, of west zone São Paulo, when the two began to search for it. He was shot dead in 1981, at age 34, in São Paulo, and was buried as an indigent.
“Our father was shot to death at age 34 in São Paulo, without the culprit ever being identified. He was first buried as an unknown and then his body was identified by one of my aunts. The vicious circle of violence that repeats itself with minorities and the genocide of black youth have to end,” says Roseli.
The family and NGOs held a protest against Luana’s death on Saturday (4/23), in front of the Esplanada do Teatro Pedro II, in Ribeirão Preto.
Source: Brasil de Fato