If you ever get into a discussion on the topic of race with a Brazilian, you are sure to hear the argument that a Ku Klux Klan type group never existed in Brazil thus it is the US that is the truly racist nation. Our argument here at BW of Brazil is and continues to be, the police, death squads and everyday crime in Brazil kill far more black Brazilians (males in particular) than the police in the US or any period of the history of the KKK! Consider this: In 2003, police in Rio killed 1,195 people. By comparison, police departments in the entire United States killed 1,080 people within a three year period (2002-2004). In 2003, police in São Paulo killed 868 people (1). This is not to say that all of these victims were black, but there is an element of race that is often glossed over when these reports come out in Brazil’s media. In our reports, we have shown some shocking numbers in relation to race, homicide, police and death squads in Brazil. These are numbers from our previous blog posts:
- In 2004, of the 706 homicides between in the state of the northeastern state Bahia between the ages of 15 and 29, 699 were black (99%) and 7 white.
- In the northeastern states of Paraíba and Alagoas, the rates of homicide amongst Afro-Brazilians are 1,083% and 974% higher than whites.
- In Alagoas, for every white person killed, 20 blacks are ‘exterminated
- In 1999, 85% of victims of police or death squad assassinations were Afro-Brazilian.
- In the northeastern state of Pernambuco, homicide kills 40 times more black women
The article below was released a few days ago and while it is an excellent report about the numbers of homicides committed by police in the 80% black city of Salvador, Bahia, it mentions nothing about the element of race in the report. As persons of color make up the majority in states like Bahia, Pernambuco, Alagoas and Paraíba, it’s not hard to figure what the vast majority of victims look like!
Police in the northeastern state of Bahia kill more than one person per day; rate is higher than Rio and São Paulo
by Victor Uchôa
In 2012, the number of people killed in alleged confrontations with police in Bahia is 58.9% higher than last year. To try to curb abuses, the Justice Department proposes to end the registration of “Self Resistance”.
More than one death per day. On average, this is the result of “Autos de Resistência (AR or Self Resistance)*” in Bahia, from January to August of this year. In 244 days, there have been 267 deaths of people involved in alleged confrontations with police.
The number is from the Coordination of Documentation and Police Statistics Officer (Cedep), an agency of the Ministry of Public Security (SSP). The sum represents an increase of 58.9% in cases of “resistance followed by death” over the same period last year, when 168 people died. In total this year, there were 103 deaths in the capital, 50 in the metropolitan area and 114 in the other cities of the interior of Bahia.
If only deaths from the first semester were counted, Bahia recorded 191 deaths in AR, which corresponds to a rate of 2.73 deaths per 100 thousand inhabitants. In the state of São Paulo, where from January-June there were 239 deaths, the rate is 1.16. In the state of Rio de Janeiro, the data shows 214 deaths in the first six months of the year, reaching a rate of 2.68.
If taken into account only the numbers of the capital cities, the rate of deaths in confrontations with police in Salvador, in the first half of the year, it is 5.77. Altogether, the Cedep recorded 77 cases in Salvador. In São Paulo, there were 147 deaths (a rate of 2.62), and in the state capital of Rio de Janeiro, 132 deaths (4.19).
Sign: “No to violence! Yes to life!!! Blood spilled in search of justice!!!”
Even defending the AR as a way to support the police action, the Secretary of Public Security, Maurício Barbosa, thinks that all operations should be cautious.
“I do not celebrate any death. Previously, you proclaimed that a good bandit was a dead bandit. This no longer exists. We work with the idea of approximation of the community,” said Barbosa, during the inauguration of the Community Base of Security in the neighborhood of Paz.
As the official data goes until the end of August, it doesn’t take into account, for example, the death of the teenager Rodrigo Santos Conceição, 15, shot by soldiers of the 1st Companhia Independente da Polícia Militar (CIPM or Independent Battalion of Military Police) in the Pernambués (Salvador, Bahia) last Saturday.
The police allege that during a raid in search of assailants which had been functioning on Luis Eduardo Magalhães Avenue, there were shots fired by a group of five armed men. There was shootout and the boy ended up being shot. According to the Department of Communication at the police, a 380mm weapon was seized.
Those who knew the teen tell a different story. “The police only come in shooting. On Saturday, when Rodrigo ran into them in the alley, he was scared, he ran,” says Simone Santos, mother of the girlfriend of the young man and housewife of the home from where he had left just before being killed.
Rodrigo’s father also commented. “When my son saw the Military Police, he started to run, like everyone who was in the street and they shot him. They found the gun here in the street. It was thrown by one of those who ran,” he told the Correio newspaper reporter Ronaldo da Conceição.
Outraged, Rodrigo’s relatives and friends held a protest that shut down the Luis Eduardo Magalhães Avenue on Sunday. After that, the Military Police established a Military Police Inquiry (IPM) to determine if the death actually occurred after a ‘resistance’ or if the boy was executed.
Two bodies registered as ‘resisting arrest’ in February in Feira de Santana, Bahia
A similar situation occurred on July 30th, when Alexandre Oliveira da Silva, 14, and Rafael Muniz Barreto, 19, were killed by police by the same CIPM and Special Patrols (Rondesp), also during an alleged confrontation, this time in (the neighborhood of) Saramandaia (Salvador, Bahia). At the time, the family closed the ACM Avenue on two occasions. The Military Police Investigation of the case, ongoing for 40 days, has not yet been completed.
A survey conducted by the Correio newspaper shows that of the ARs whose situations were released by police, the largest number of deaths occurred in Barra da Estiva, in the southwest of the state. On February 2nd, six suspects of robberies and murders in the region were killed in a confrontation with military and civil police in a rural area of the city.
Among the dead were twin brothers and Ailton and Amilton Santos Caíres, in addition to the father of the brothers, Eulálio dos Santos. Amilton was the “Dez de Ouro (Golden Ten)” of the SSP Crime Unit, referring to the most wanted outlaws in the state.
In Salvador, on March 27th, there was a case of resistance that ended in six deaths, but two suspects of assaulting the Barramar bus company in the Pirajá neighborhood (of Salvador), died after falling into a ditch on the BR-324 highway during police pursuit. Four more members of the gang were killed in a confrontation with police after being cornered in Engenho Velho da Federação, a neighborhood in Salvador, Bahia.
In the year, four confrontations resulted in five deaths. January 30th, in Salinas da Margarida, bank robbery suspects were killed in a confrontation. On May 3rd, five assailants who tried to rob the CIA (Centro Industrial de Aratu) industrial complex company of also died in a shootout. On June 1st, a gang was caught trying to kidnap a businessman in Itinga and all ended up dead. Finally, on August 2nd in Ubaíra, suspects of a bank robbery were also killed in an alleged confrontation.
United Nations recommends end of PM in Brazil
In the last hearing to which Brazil submitted itself in the Human Rights Council of the United Nations (UN), in May, the organization recommended the abolition of the Military Police. This is one of the 170 suggestions in the report of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Brazil, which are reviewed by all UN member states. The recommendation for the extinction of the Military Police, made by Denmark, was based on an analysis of cases of Self Resistance that were confirmed as executions.
The report indicates the end of the “separate system of Military Police, applying more effective measures to reduce the incidence of extrajudicial executions (murders).” Spain has already requested to Brazil the “revision of training programs in human rights for security forces.” In the hearings, Australia suggested to the country the incentive so that more states develop programs such as the Police Pacification Unit (UPP), in Rio de Janeiro.
In Bahia, since 2011, the government has been implementing the Community Cases of Security, that had the seventh unit inaugurated on the 13th of this month, in the Bairro da Paz neighborhood in Salvador. The prevision is that two more be delivered in the coming days: the day after tomorrow, in (the city of) Itabuna, and on the 27th in (the city of) Feira de Santana.
Congress will discuss the end of ‘Resistance’ records
In an attempt to diminish the sense of impunity that surrounds the case records of Self-Resistance (AR), the Ministry of Justice (MJ) has prepared a proposal to change the way deaths are recorded.
Based on the fact that the AR is not under the Penal Code, the Secretary of Legislative Affairs of MJ, Marivaldo Pereira, advocates ending the “resistance followed by death” reports in police stations. “The police reports the Self-Resistance and in most cases it is for this very reason, because it is assumed that he acted in self defense. It is not ascertained as it should be. It is a mechanism often used by a minority of bad cops to hide their excesses,” he argues.
MJ’s proposal was added to the discussions that were taking place in Congress and culminated in a bill (Projeto de Lei (PL) or Law Project) that nonpartisan Congressman Paul Teixeira (PT-SP) intended to file. Besides the end of the registration of AR death, the PL provides that in cases of “violent death occurred in actions of state agents, the report will be prepared within ten days and forwarded immediately to the police authority, the correctional organ, the Public Ministry, to the prosecution and the victim’s family.”
The bill still has standards for expertise and research that, in theory, should already be fulfilled. “We want to oblige the investigation. The number of deaths caused by police officers is growing and many hide behind the AR to commit crimes,” says Teixeira.
For the minister of archives of the SSP in Bahia, Maurício Barbosa, the possible move is “absurd.” “The policeman is exposed. What support does he have in his action if I assume that every AR is like any other murder?”, says Barbosa, defending the investigation and punishment for eventual abuses.
His position is defended by Colonel Alfredo Castro, commander general of Miltary Police of Bahia. For this official, what cannot happen is to take into account only the police’s version (of an incident). “You have to investigate everything and in the end, if necessary, expel the police,” he concludes.
* – AR or “auto de resistência” or self-resistance is akin to resistance of arrest. It is classified as a mechanism to justify police violence by claiming that suspects attempted to resist police stops, interrogations or arrests resulting in the usage of force and sometimes death.
1. Wells, Mark. By Making the US a Racial Hell Brazil Can See Itself As Eden. Brazzil. January 2007
Source: Correio 24 Horas
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