Confusion over citizens refusing to wear masks in public due to Covid-19 lead to a brutal assault in one city and death in another in Brazil’s northeast and south

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Note from BW of Brazil: The situation over what societies should be doing in regards to the Covid-19 pandemic has taken its toll all over the world as citizens and governments wrestle over the best way to deal with the crisis. We’ve seen some pretty tense situations come out of the whole thing. It’s a fragile situation. On the one hand, governments want to do the right thing in order to try to contain the spread of the virus thus the implementation of social distancing and shutdowns of local businesses. On the other hand, as tens of millions of people need to be able to work in order to pay bills and put food on the table, the forced shutdown is also leading to financial stress as families try to cope with the precautionary measures. As reported a few days ago, Brazil now has the second most number of Covid-19 cases trailing only the United States

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In Alagoas, former Military Police soldier proclaims wearing a mask is optional after being advised by young bystander

We’ve already seen some very interesting and sometimes shocking reactions that people have had to the shutdown and Brazil is no different. Just a few weeks ago, there was a situation in which a retired Military Police (MP) officer assaulted and threatened a young black man in the city of União dos Palmares, in Alagoas, located in the country’s northeast region. The MP, Élcio Sarmento, was angry with the young man after being told about the necessity of wearing a mask in public for protection. The incident went down on Thursday, May 7th, and, in an era in which everyone has a cell phone, it was recorded in various videos made by the aggressor as well as bystanders.

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Former MP Élcio Sarmento is shown assaulting young man over a dispute over decree of wearing masks in public

Before the aggression, the MP, speaking without a mask, was recording a video where he was spoke out against the new decree issued by the Government of Alagoas, which established stricter isolation measures. He went on to criticize the closure of streets by the City of União dos Palmares proclaiming the state decree to be unconstitutional and that it disrespects the right of citizens to come and go.

As he recorded his declarations, a young man was seen approaching and telling him about the mandatory use of a mask when entering the streets. At that point, the PM becomes irritated by the interruption and continues to argue that the use of a mask is optional and then threatens to arrest the young man for contempt of authority. Still filming, he then demands respect to an authority and threatens to call the police to which the young man tells him to make the call.

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In video, Sarmento is shown kicking young man as he lay on the ground

In videos posted on social networks, the aggressions against the youth can be seen. In one video, we see the young man immobilized on the ground as the MP kicks him numerous times. After the video went viral, the State Prosecutor’s Office (MPE) established a factual report to investigate the former PM’s behavior and requested an investigation by the Civil Police as well as by the MP’s Internal Affairs Department.

The prosecutor of the city, Jheise Gama, assessed that the Military Policeman had already committed a criminal offense by simply leaving home without wearing a mask. “Breaking a state or municipal government decree is a crime provided for in article 268 of the Brazilian Penal Code and provides for a penalty of detention from one month to one year and also the payment of a fine,” said the prosecutor.

In a note, the 5th Subsection of the Brazilian Bar Association in Alagoas repudiated the aggression practiced by the former MP and stressed that the incident represents an action that disrespects Brazilian laws. “We will adopt the measures applicable to the case and we will demand the authorities for the rigor in investigating the facts that, by themselves, speak without the need for witnesses”, read an excerpt of the statement.

As if this incident weren’t bad enough, it gets much worse, with another incident again over the issue of wearing masks in public lead to someone’s death. Read on for the details. 

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Sandra Maria Aparecida Ribeiro was killed after being shot over a dispute over a customer refusing to wearing a mask

A woman killed in the market feared a fight over the wearing of a mask

by Daniel Malucelli

Sandra Maria Aparecida Ribeiro, 45, was a victim of stupidity. Separated and an only child, she was the foundation of the family. She raised her two teenage children alone and took care of her parents, both elderly and with health problems. But on Tuesday, April 28, ignorance took Sandra’s life. An inspector at the Condor hypermarket in Araucária, in the metropolitan region of Curitiba, she was shot after a fight caused by a client who refused to wear protective masks against the coronavirus – the use of the equipment is mandatory throughout the state of Paraná.

Causing the confusion, businessman Danir Garbossa, 58, did not agree to be prevented from entering the market without a mask and even refused to use one offered free of charge by the establishment. Garbossa assaulted an employee and jumped on the security guard, Wilhan Soares, 28, until a gunshot hit Sandra, who died on the spot. The two involved were arrested in the act on that day.

Danir foi denunciado pela morte de Sandra (Reprodução)
Danir Garbossa (left) assaulted an employee and security guard and in the confusion, Ribeiro (right) ended up being shot and killed

According to her friends, Sandra was reserved, shy and a fighter. She worked in the supermarket for eight years: she started as a cashier and worked her way up to becoming an inspector. The victim’s friend for over 20 years, who prefers not to have her name revealed, says that Sandra was afraid of fights at work caused by people who wouldn’t accept wearing the protective mask.

“These fights over the mask worried Sandra very much. She even commented to her mother that that was her fear. She had even commented that she wanted to change sectors because she was out front. It’s like she was sensing something,” she says.

“It’s an irreparable loss. Her parents are groundless, aimless. I don’t know who’s gonna take care of them now, they’re in poor health. Her parents wouldn’t sleep until she got home from work. And she still has her kids. I wonder what’s going to happen. This man has to answer for what he did. For his ignorance,” protests the friend.

Sandra was also a simple, humble, religious person. Her dream was to get a driver’s license and buy a car so she could help her parents even more. Her driving instructor, Regiane Ferreira, tells how the student became a friend.

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Regiane (left) was the victim’s friend and teacher. Sandra Ribeiro is shown at right

“Every time she passed the market I’d talk to her. Sandra was very private. She was very afraid to drive and she hadn’t managed to pass the tests because she would get nervous. She was embarrassed until she cleared up her doubts with me. When we did our classes, we would pass in front of her house so her mother could see her learning to drive”, Ferreira recalls.

In her neighborhood, Sandra will also be missed. Hosana Marcondes, who has lived next door to the victim for more than 20 years, says her death left her neighbors stunned. “It was a general commotion. Sandra was a very polite woman, never had any problems with anyone. She always had a smile on her face. Everyone is shocked, very sad,” she laments.

Employees miss a wake

The employees made a large prayer circle in front of the market to pay homage right after Sandra’s death. But many didn’t make it to the wake, which was on the morning of Wednesday the 29th, because they had not been excused from the market. “Unfortunately, I couldn’t go because I could only leave at lunch. Only those from the afternoon shift could go. It was very difficult to work today,” laments one employee, who prefers not to identify himself.

This employee was working at the time of the tragedy. He says that the sadness among the market workers was great after the death of his colleague. “I thought it was a robbery. When I saw it, they were rescuing Sandra and the man was also bleeding on the bench”, he relates.

Sought for comment, Condor did not answer the question of the wake until the closing of this article. The supermarket chain published a note of regret in the social networks. “In this moment of pain and sadness with the loss of our dear collaborator Sandra Ribeiro, Condor deeply regrets what happened and sympathizes with her family and friends. The network thanks the professional for her dedication during the eight years of service to the company and states that it is providing all the support and help to the family”.

Source: Tribuna PR, Notícia Preta

 

About Marques Travae 3413 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

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