Note from BW of Brazil: There is much evidence to argue that Brazil’s Military Police often acts with overt aggressive in its dealings with the public, a fact that has a clear connection to number of brutal police murders young, poor, black youth. The fact that the aggression featured in today’s post happened in the northeastern state of Alagoas is even more alarming as blacks in the state are murdered at a rate that is 20 times higher than the rate of whites.
The facts in the case below are a still a bit sketchy so some details will still need to come out as far as what rule the young man involved may have violated. Be that as it may, the question at issue here is: was it necessary to point a gun at the young man? Interestingly, both the journalist and guest commentator comment on the absurdity of the act. At about the 3:20 mark of the video, the guest commentator calls the act of the Military Police “an abuse of authority”, “absurd” and compares it to “apartheid”, with whites on one bus, blacks on another bus, whites on one sidewalk, blacks walking on another sidewalk. Check out the video, story and photos below.
Military Police points gun at student and throws him off of school bus
Student accuses Military Police that threw him off a bus in Alagoas of racism
Via Afropress, with information from G1, Rede Record and Aqui Acontece
The black student Jonas Barbosa, 24, of the Federal University of Alagoas (UFAL) was kicked off the bus he was riding by Alagoas Polícia Militar (PM or Military Police) lieutenant, Madson Belarrmino, by the barrel of a gun, because he was allegedly sitting on the bus when he should have been traveling on foot. Barbosa, a Mathematics student, accused the police of violence with racist bias.
The case happened on December 10th and is having severe repercussions in the national media for the gratuitous and violence of the action of the PM, who is also manager of the Superintendência Municipal de Transportes e Trânsito (SMTT or City Superintendent of Transportation and Traffic) of S. Miguel dos Campos. In the images, the superintendent threatens the college student with a firearm and expels him from the bus bound for Maceió.
The images recorded the student being led off of the school bus by the public manager who identified himself as SMTT superintendent. Further, while trying to return to the vehicle the man pointed a gun at the young man and loudly yells that he is giving a legal order for him to get off.
After calling a police vehicle and asking if the bus belongs to the student, he adds that the vehicle is from City Hall. The student then got off the bus and had to pay for private transportation to travel to Maceió to attend class.
The lieutenant told the G1 website that the video was edited and threatened to sue the student. Jonas Barbosa said it all started when he refused to accept the seat tags posted on the school bus by a server.
“I tore this map off because I disagree with this marking of places. Transportation is public and any student has the right to use and travel on any seat that he finds empty. However, because of this, by challenging a situation, I was humiliated, beaten and threatened with a gun in my face. I was expelled from public transport which I paid for with the cost of taxes,” he complained.
The student accused the PM of practicing violence and racism. “As a citizen I felt morally assaulted and I will sue this manager in court to prevent situations like this from happening again. I could have been wrong, but that does not give him the right to humiliate me in public and threaten me with a gun,” he concluded.
In an email forwarded to the press, which contains all the information and the attached video, the co-ordinator of the Diretório Central dos Estudantes (DCE Central Directory of Students) of the Federal University of Alagoas, Laís Cavalcante, accuses the superintendent of coercion and demonstrates the student’s outrage.
“Today (December 10), there was a case that generated massive outrage across the academic community. The student Jonas Barbosa, questioning the transport situation that the City of São Miguel dos Campos makes available, was threatened by the superintendent and told that because of such an attitude he would no longer use the bus on this day,” says Cavalcante.
According to the coordinator of DCE, on the bus provided by the Municipality, students need to rotate to travel, given the amount of students.
The email ended with the college student requesting support of the Alagoas media in the disclosure of what happened: “We ask all of the press state to put this into circulation for us to denounce not only enforcement that was done, but also the current state of transportation of students.”
In his profile on the social network Facebook, Barbosa shared his outrage at what happened and also posted the video.
“Mandella is still cooling, but prejudice and abuse of power freely continues. By expressing myself about a situation that is very disturbing to my academic performance – I think of others too – I was coerced violently and morally assaulted by a citizen that as shown in the pictures, has no capacity to carry a weapon. I expose something to be resolved civilly and the SMTT superintendent of São Miguel dos Campos pointed a pistol at me after expelling me from the bus and impeding me from using the transport.”
The UFAL student concludes questioning who will help him in this situation: “And you, how will help me to punish this injustice? Prosecutors, lawyers, public officials or anyone who has in his hands the power and goodwill toward justice.”