Note from BW of Brazil: Imagine this. This blog generally publishes one post per day. But if the intent of this blog was simply to report on the murders of young black people in Brazil, there would have to be a new post every 23 minutes! In some ways it’s difficult enough to just imagine that many deaths during the course of a day. But it is the reality in today’s Brazil. In fact, even not focusing primarily on this fact, this blog has brought numerous articles about this serious problem in the past four years. While headlines from the US about murders of black people and subsequent protests constantly make world headlines, when it comes to Brazil, the world doesn’t bat an eyelash. But unfortunately, this is often also the case in Brazil itself. The death of a black youth, in some ways, is seen as being equal to the death of a fly. In fact, some middle and upper classes actually cheer on these murders as if they were something to improve the society (as one recent demonstration that will be featured in an upcoming post showed). Truly shameful how little human life is devalued. And in Brazil, the value of the life is often associated to the color of the victim. And as we have seen in numerous previous posts, death in Brazil prefers dark skin.
Every 23 minutes, a black youth is murdered in Brazil, says CPI
Courtesy of Último Segundo
CPI report of the Federal Senate on the Murder of Youth denounces extermination and proposes changes in legislation
After you finish reading this text and have a coffee, a young black man will have been killed in Brazil. This is the country that springs forward in the final report of the CPI of the Senate on the Assassinato de Jovens (Murder of Youth), which will be released this week in Brasília: every year, 23,100 young blacks, aged 15-29, are killed. They are 63 per day. One every 23 minutes.
The CPI is based on the numbers of the Mapa da Violência (Map of Violence), conducted since 1998 by sociologist Julio Jacobo Waiselfisz from official data from the system of the Sistema de Informações de Mortalidade do Ministério da Saúde (System of Information of Mortality of the Ministry of Health). The last map is from 2014 and accounts for the 2012 homicides: About 30 thousand young people from 15 to 29 years are killed every year in Brazil, and 77% are black (sum of pretos/blacks and pardos/browns).
After seven months of work, with 21 public hearings in seven Brazilian states, the report of Senator Lindbergh Farias (PT of Rio de Janeiro) presents a broad diagnosis, with numbers and research from various sources and periods.
Recent catalogs and widely reported stories, like that of the boy Eduardo de Jesus, 10, killed by a Military Police solider in the Complexo do Alemão, in north zone Rio in April 2015. He recovers others almost forgotten, like Ana Paula Santos, killed in 2006 in Santos, São Paulo, at age 20, when she was nine months pregnant. Her husband and the baby were also killed.
“Dudu told me. Mom, my sister Patricia is almost here, I’ll wait on the porch. I said. Go, son. He was waiting for his sister and never came back. Soon after I heard the outburst, the shouting, and I saw my son lying lifeless. He was a healthy boy, a great student,” recalls the day laborer Terezinha Maria de Jesus, Eduardo’s mother.
A million deaths
Experts are accustomed to using the word epidemic to refer to the death of young people in Brazil, especially young blacks. According to the Map of Violence, the homicide rate among young blacks is almost four times that found among whites (36.9 per 100 inhabitants, compared to 9.6). Moreover, the fact of being a male multiplies the risk of being a homicide victim nearly 12 times.
Weiselfiz forwarded to the BBC Brasil preliminary data of the Map to be released this year: from 1980 to 2014, the number of deaths by firearms in Brazil sum almost a million. Between 1980 and 2014 967,851 people, victims of firearm shooting died, with 85.8% by homicide. “Between 1980 and 2014, homicides increased 592.8%, seven times its incidence,” says the sociologist.
In an interview by e-mail, through his representative, Senator Lindbergh Farias says that “the main highlight of the CPI was to recognize what the movimento negro (black movement), especially about young people, have been saying for a long time: a true genocide of our black youth.”
Report recommends unification of military and civil police, among other measures
“Every 23 minutes a young black is murdered in Brazil. This is equivalent to the fall of more than 150 jets, full of black youths, every year. Genocide of the black population is the expression that best fits the current reality of Brazil,” he says.
Autos de resistência
The CPI highlights the responsibility of the State, whether by action or omission. “In an environment where the failure of the government raises the appearance of organized groups of traffickers and militias, the rates of violence against black youth reach paroxysm. On the other hand, the growth of police violence against these young people is also a shocking reality. Situations involving the death of young black men, especially those whose justifications of police action supporting themselves in the so-called autos de resistência (acts of resistance),” the report said.
Autos de resistência are, with naming variations from one Brazilian state to another, records deaths occurring in alleged confrontations in which police are said to have shot in self-defense.
In case of resistance to prison, the Criminal Procedure Code authorizes the use of any means for the police to defend or overcome resistance. It also determines that for an auto to be drawn up, it is declared by two witnesses – hence the name auto de resistência. Often, such records hide executions in “confrontations” that never happened.
Research of the Fórum Brasileiro de Segurança Pública (FBSP or Brazilian Public Security Forum) points out that between 2009 and 2013 Brazilian police killed 11,197 people in cases listed as autos de resistência – six deaths per day – knowing that the total is underreported because some states didn’t pass on data to the FBSP.
The report also quotes a sociologist and research professor Michel Misse UFRJ held in 2005, in Rio de Janeiro, indicating that, among investigations into autos de resistência, 99.2% were filed in archived or never reached the phrase of denouncement.
Civil police chief Orlando Zaccone made autos de resistência the subject his doctoral thesis in political science defended at UFF (Federal Fluminense University).
By analyzing 314 cases of autos de resistência from 2003 to 2010 in Rio, Zaccone points responsibility not only to police but also the public prosecutor, in the construction of a routine in which the main concern is whether the deceased was or was or not connected to (drug) trafficking – rather than clarifying the circumstances of the death.
Cases of “autos de resistência” can hide many executions
“The sheet of criminal records of the dead is systematically used to request archiving. Several institutions are articulated in this process, which characterizes a state policy in which it admits that there are exterminable people,” says Zaccone.
The creation of a single protocol to register autos de resistência is among the recommendations of the final report of the CPI, as well as the creation of a national database with consolidated and systematized indicators of violence.
The unification of the Military and Civil Police is another recommendation. The rapporteur of the CPI, Lindbergh Farias, highlights the lines of action in Congress: implementation of the National Plan to Combat Youth Homicide, suggested in special committee of the House; approval of the bill 4.471/2012 – which extinguishes autos de resistência, determines the opening of inquiries and opens the possibility of imprisonment in the act of the police in case of autos de resistência; approval of PEC 51 (which, among other measures, desmilitarizes and unifies the police).
“All police should carry out the complete cycle of police work (preventive, ostensive, investigative). Thus burying, the institutional jabuticaba: the division of police work cycle between Military and Civil. This is a battle we have before of us in Congress,” said Lindbergh.
The PEC 51 and the project that extinguishes autos de resistência faces opposition from more parliamentarians more linked to police forces. Many argue that project 4471 may end up scaring the officer who is in the field, in real confrontation with criminals.
“There is a genocide of black youth,” said the rapporteur of the committee, Senator Lindbergh Farias (PT-RJ)
One of the points raised by the CPI is precisely the high number of deaths of Brazilian police who end up being not only the principle agents, but also victims of violence. According to the Brazilian Forum on Public Security cited by the CPI, in 2013 alone nearly 500 police soldiers were killed in service.
Asked by BBC Brasil, the Inspector General of the Military Police of Rio, Colonel Welste Medeiros said that the corporation does not omit itself from investigating crimes of its members and has sought solutions to optimize investigations of crimes committed by police.
Among them, he highlights partnerships with the Public Ministry, expanding the role of PM internal affairs and the carrying out of projects with universities for analysis of police violence data.
The Programa de Gestão do Uso da Força e da Arma de Fogo (Management of the Use of Force and Arms program) was created by means of which the police who have shot the most firearms in the last six months are identified and undergo a training program that includes everything from shot simulators to psychological evaluation and people and vehicles approach methodology.
‘We’ve become a number’
The CPI also threw light on a little discussed topic, the deaths of young offenders housed in units for rehabilitation. At the public hearing held on June 15, 2015, Sinase (Sistema Nacional de Atendimento Socioeducativo – National System of Socio-Educational Services) official data were presented: in 2013, 29 juvenile delinquents died in state custody.
The most common cause of death was the “interpersonal conflict” (59% overall), followed by widespread conflict (17%) and an astounding rate of suicide in the system – 14%. The country has about 24 thousand adolescents in “situation deprivation of freedom”, or kept in units for rehabilitation. According to Sinase, 57.41% of them are black, while in 17.15% of cases there was no response on color or race.
The country aside, black mothers mourn the murder of their children. Débora Maria Silva, mother of gari (street sweeper) Edson Rogério Silva dos Santos, still hasn’t seen anyone being held accountable for his death in May 2006 in Santos.
According to the CPI report, he was one of more than 400 killed in a wave of violence in the region initiated after a criminal faction murdered 43 state agents. In the sequence, a strong police repression led to other victims. According to witnesses, Édson was approached by police at a gas station, followed and murdered.
Mães de Maio
“I even got sick after he died. One day I dreamed of my son, like a vision, and he told me: Mom, go fight for the living,” says Débora, who became an activist and created the Mães de Maio (Mothers of May) movement, bringing together mothers of youth murdered in the region in 2006.
The she brought together several other mothers who lost their children, such as Vera Lúcia Santos, mother of Ana Paula Santos, the young pregnant woman that was murdered. “After almost ten years, we’re losing hope. We’ve become a number, become a thesis. And more people are still dying. The impression is that it is a continuous month of May,” laments Vera Lúcia.
Terezinha de Jesus, Eduardo’s mother, left Rio after receiving anonymous death threats. The investigation of the Civil Police concluded that the police officers acted in self-defense, but public prosecutors didn’t agree and denounced for the crime a police officer who will go to trial.
Terezinha now divides her time between monitoring the case and caring for the rest of her family. She has four children and four grandchildren, including the new Eduardo of the house: a five month old baby with round eyes like those of his uncle. He is the son of Patrícia, the sister that Eduardo de Jesus waited for on the porch when he was killed.
Source: Último Segundo