Relatives,friends of slain youth stage a protest in front of a shopping mall.
by Tássia Correia, Maíra Côrtes and Gatas Negras
On Friday, March 2nd,yet another tragedy involving a black teenager happened in Salvador, Bahia. Onthis night at about 10:30pm, 17-year old Tarsis Lima Santos was shot near theSalvador Shopping (Mall) and taken to the Roberto Santos General Hospital byhis mother where succumbed to the injuries he had sustained.
According to thecivil police, two unidentified men fired several shots toward the teen, who wason a walkway next to the mall. There had been suspicion that some youngstershad organized a series of robberies and thefts in the region, which causedconfusion and mayhem, after which the shooting occurred. At the time of theshooting, Tarsis was with a group of friends across the bridge and was hit bymistake.
Witnesses said thegunmen were security guards or police officers working undercover on the catwalksthat provide an entrance to the mall, and trying to avoid an assault. This informationhas not been confirmed. After the crime, the gunmen fled the scene withoutproviding aid to the victim.
The press office ofSalvador Shopping released a press release denying any involvement of itsemployees in the case as their security guards don’t use weapons. “At around 22:30, themall had learned through bystanders that a firearm had been shot near theneighborhood of Pernambués. The police were present at the site, and tookappropriate action”, thenote concluded.
The crime scene isusually a meeting place for boys and girls from the outskirts of Salvador,before and after walks through malls in the region. The investigation into thedeath of Tarsis Santos is the responsibility of the Departamentode Homicídios e Proteção à Pessoa (DHPP – Department of Homicides and Protectionof Persons).
Salvador Shopping, site of the murder
The following day(March 3rd), about one hundred people, including relatives, friendsand neighbors of Lima protested in front of the mall. The group blocked themain entrance of the mall, asking for justice. Because of the protests, theaccess roads to the region, like Parallel and Antonio Carlos Magalhães avenues wereheld up during the afternoon, according to a report.
Members of Lima’sfamily reported that the boy had nothing to do with the crime, and only usedthe entrance, accompanied by relatives, on the way to a party when the two menwearing black shirts and jeans shot at him. Also according to the relatives ofthe youth, the men said that they had confused the young man with someone else.
Details surroundingthis case remain sketchy as the mall is washing its hands of the case althoughit seems to be agreed that police were on the scene of the crime. While thecase continues to develop, one thing is certain: another Afro-Brazilian youthhas been murdered under suspicious circumstances possibly involving the policeand a case of mistaken identity. As I have written in a previous report, the alarming rates of murder of black youth in Brazil in general and specifically in Salvador, Bahia,are such that they could be labeled genocide. Let’s hope that the family of this young man is able to attain some level of justice for their loss, but for some reason, maybe due to an obvious lack of value placed on the lives of black youth, I am not to optimistic about this case.
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Source: Black Women of Brazil