Note from BW of Brazil: A popular hashtag and catchphrase from the the United States last year said that “Black Lives Matter” after a number of murders of black males at the hands of police in that country. The phrase may as well be applied to Brazil but perhaps with the word “Do” on the front and a question mark at the end of the phrase. It’s shameful, sickening and saddening how often this news of police assassinations of Afro-Brazilian males comes of out Brazil. We’ve long called it genocide as has Amnesty International as there appears to be a clear agenda to decrease the black male population with lethal force. How else can you explain the horrendous numbers of police murders that clearly has a preference for skin color? In past articles, we’ve uncovered a right-wing ‘think tank’ that seemed to suggest extermination of the poor, and the existence of death squads in operation around the country (see here and here) and shocking numbers that show just how much more lethal Brazil’s police forces are in comparison with the United States. Absolutely speechless!
Witness says victims of the bloodbath in Cabula, Bahia, had surrendered
By Claudia Belfort
According to the man, who asked not to be named, the young men had surrendered and were unarmed when they were executed. Residents confirm execution
A resident of the Cabula neighborhood, in Salvador, Bahia, refuted Bahia’s Military Police’s (MP) version of the murder of 12 young men in an alleged exchange of gunfire in the early hours of Friday, January 6th. According to the man, who asked not to be named, the boys had surrendered and were unarmed when they were executed. The information is from the Correio newspaper in Salvador.
The Ponte report confirmed the man’s version with two residents of the community. “It was a group of 24 boys, the police have came down shooting, got them, they were beaten and then took the police shots,” said Maílza, 19. “Many residents here didn’t like the police attitude, because they came out shooting at everybody,” said João, who has lived in the area for 10 years (names have been changed to protect the residents). “A member of the group betrayed them and handed them over in a police meeting,” he added.
In Cunha’s words, the objective of the proposal of heterophobia is “to restore the right of people to be normal.”
“Our contacts with social organizations and community reports show that there are indications that some of these deaths were made of people who had already rendered,” said Átila Roque, director of Amnesty International, which requested a thorough investigation into the killings and protection of the witnesses of the case from the Government of Bahia. The Reaja ou será mort@ (React or you will be killed), joint movements and communities of black men and women of Bahia, also referred to the Department of Public Safety of Bahia, a meeting request with the participation of Amnesty International and Justiça Global (Global Justice) until the Tuesday (February 10)
The Ponte report had access to three different videos of the bodies of the victims, made in the Roberto Santos Hospital, where they were taken. Three of them had bullet marks in the back, the other three had gunshot wounds in the chest, and one appears with a bandage around his entire head. In one of the videos you can see a uniformed police recording images of bodies with his cell phone. The images are very strong, and we chose not to publish them.
According to the Public Security Bureau of Bahia, the shooting happened around 4 am, on Barreiras road. The Rondesp (Special Rounds), of the MP, had received a complaint that a group planned to rob a bank in the region and nine police officers, divided into three vehicles, went to respond to the call. When they reached the place, the MPs found a vehicle and about six men near a branch of Caixa Econômica (1). When they directed themselves at the group, they fired at the agents and fled toward a thicket, where there were other members of the gang hidden, making a total of about thirty people.
In the exchange of shots, in addition to the 12 dead, three other boys were wounded and a sergeant was grazed in the head. “It’s surreal a group of 30 men exchanging gunfire with 9 police and they only grazed a sergeant,” said another resident to the Ponte site.
At a news conference, the governor of Bahia, Rui Costa, said that at first there would be no removal of police, because there is no evidence of acting outside of the law in the case. On the actions of Rondesp, Costa said at a news conference that “every cop is like a shooter in front of the goal”. “When a police operation that ends with 12 dead is seen as normal, this demonstrates the failure of the public security system,” said Roque.
In the community the climate is tense. “Since yesterday (Friday) businesses are closing at 5pm, today we heard fireworks all day, and here when there’s fireworks, at some point there’s a shot,” said a resident to Ponte, who also asked that the identity be preserved. “There are desperate people here, it’s full of police in the community.”
Three more die in Military Police actions in Salvador. 15 have been killed since Friday
By Enderson Araújo
Three more young people were murdered in Salvador in Bahian Military Police operations. This weekend, 15 young black men were killed.
Three other young black men were killed this weekend in Salvador, in Rondesp (Rounds Special) operations.
At dawn on Sunday, two days after Rondesp murdered 12 boys in Cabula, there was an exchange of fire in the Sussuarana neighborhood that resulted in the death of Bruno Ramos Mendes Santos. On Saturday, Rondesp killed two boys in Cosme Farias neighborhood. In three days, 15 young black men were murdered.
The operation in Sussuarana began after a police officer was shot on Direta de Pituaçu street. The shooter was not identified. Afterward, Rondesp and Batalhão de Choque (Shock Battalion) vehicles entered the community after suspects. That was when, according to residents, men in civilian clothes and with their heads covered with shirts shot Bruno and raided houses looking for someone. Later, about 2 kilometers (1.25 miles) away, on Rua São Cristóvão (street), police approached young black men in a grotesque way, ordering that they were naked so that they need not “have to do the work” of a frisk.
The official version of the Public Security Bureau is the same in all cases: young people were involved with drugs or some other crime, shot at police who returned fire in self-defense.
What happened was a real ethnic cleansing, genocide against black youth, a problem that black youth have faced for a long time and that has been fought by various movements. One of the demands of the movement is to ensure that the PL 4471/2012, is really voted on in Congress because it will ensure that the deaths of young black men, for autos de resistência (resistance followed by death), will be investigated.
PL 4471/2012 provides that deaths and injuries caused by actions of state agents such as police, for example, have a research rite similar to that provided for in crimes committed by ordinary citizens.
The report sought the communication departments of the Bahia Government and Public Safety and the press office of the Military Police to speak on the deaths in Cosme de Farias and the operation in Sussuarana, but was unsuccessful.
* Enderson Araújo is editor in chief of Mídia Periférica in Salvador
Families claim innocence of the dead in Cabula: “They protected us. We fear the police.”
MP operation took place in Cosme de Farias one day after 12 were killed in Cabula
Clarissa Pacheco and Laura Fernandes
Families were brought together by pain at the Quinta dos Lázaros Cemetery, starting at 2:30pm on Saturday (7), when six of the 12 victims of the police operation led by Rondesp in Cabula in the early hours of Friday they were buried. Dozens of friends, neighbors and relatives were present at the burial of Nathaniel’s burial of Natanael de Jesus Costa, 17, Vitor Nascimento, 20, Everson Pereira dos Santos, 26, Caíque Basto dos Santos, 16, Jeferson Rangel e Agenor Vitalino, 19.
Relatives of the victims said they were threatened by police in the neighborhood – that pointed weapons at the bus that they got off of at the final point of Engomadeira for the burial – and ensured that there were plainclothes police at the cemetery.
“They are putting fear (in us), confronting us with weapons. The boys protected us. We have fear of the police,” said a woman who has lived in the neighborhood for 59 years, requesting anonymity. “It’s an injustice. They have to pay. It’s all lies what they are saying,” cried one an aunt of Nathaniel who declined to be named, arguing that the confrontation alleged by the police didn’t happen.
“Everyone liked my son … He was innocent! Now I will raise the two brothers alone and work alone, because it was he who helped me,” lamented the seamstress Marina Lima de Oliveira, 56 years. Nathaniel’s grandmother, she raised him as a child along with his two brothers.
She said the boy helped with the delivery of the seams, maintained that he was a studious boy who dreamed of being a futebol player, even having a tryout in Spain to join the Barcelona team. A neighbor of Everson re-enforced the version defended with unanimity among those present at the cemetery that “there was no exchange of fire.”
“It was an execution. They surrendered and were killed defenseless. How was there an exchange of fire if the boys had signs of torture? Broken arms, sunken eyes and shot in the back?” he said.
“We only wanted the police to play its role. They are unprepared. Our community has working people,” cried an aunt of Vitor. In a statement, the MP said the case will be the subject of an investigation. “To date, there are no indications of irregularities committed by the military police,” said the MP, reaffirming that police were greeted by gunfire on site.
Two new deaths after confrontation with Rondesp in Farias Cosme
A day after 12 men died in Rondesp action, of the Military Police, in Cabula, two other people were killed and a third was injured on Friday night in clashes with the police of the Rondesp Atlântico, in the area of Barral, in the Cosme de Farias neighborhood in Salvador.
According to the Military Police, the officers of Rondesp made routine patrols on Wenceslas Galo street, when we were greeted by shots of Rafael de Oliveira Cerqueira, 19, Alexsandro Pinheiro dos Santos Lima, 20, and Denilson Campos dos Santos, 22.
“The police returned fire hitting the three elements that were helped to the HGE (Hospital Geral do Estado or General State Hospital),” the PM said in a statement. According to information from the Civil Police of HGE, where the case was filed, Rafael – shot in the chest, stomach and legs – was already lifeless on arrival at the unit, around 9pm Friday.
Denilson, who was shot in the chest, abdomen and lower limbs, underwent surgery but died on Saturday (7), at 9:15. Only Alexsandro was alive, but his state of health was considered serious. He was hit in the left arm, chest and stomach.
According to police, the three are drug traffickers. With them, were found an amateur radio, 32 bags of cocaine, 21 sacks of marijuana, and three .38 handguns, one unmarked.
The weapons were sent to the Departamento de Homicídios e Proteção à Pessoa (DHPP or Homicide and Protection of Persons), investigating the case along with the MP internal affairs. According to the police report, all weapons had triggered shots. Yesterday, the police were reinforced in the vicinity of Farias Cosme. Four vehicles were stopped at the time at the height of Largo dos Paranhos, in the Brotas neighborhood- the 26th Independent Company of the Military Police (CIPM/Brotas) and the 58th CIPM (Vila Laura/Cosme de Farias) plus Rondesp units.
DHPP searches for witnesses of confrontation in Cabula
The director of the Homicide and Protection of Persons (DHPP), commissioner Jorge Figueiredo, who is investigating the deaths in Cabula, said he plans to complete the investigation of the case within 30 days, and this period may be extended.
“Starting Monday we will hear police officers involved in the support in the operation. We are also trying to locate people who witnessed the action,” he said. He said that some of the dead had a criminal record.
A total of 24 weapons were sent for examination: 9 used by police (machine guns and pistols) and the other 16 were seized on site (12 .38 caliber revolvers, a 40 point pistol a 45, and a shotgun).
Yesterday, the court placed in preventive custody Arão de Paula Santos, Elenilson Santana da Conceição and Luan Lucas Ferreira de Oliveira, who were arrested in the MP action.
Police strengthens its monitoring in the Vila Moisés region in Cabula
The day after the police operation in the Vila Moisés region in Cabula, which ended with 12 dead and four injured, including a military police sergeant, Dick Rocha de Jesus, the sun rose yesterday with re-enforced neighborhood policing.
Amid the heavy traffic of vehicles of operations Gêmeos, Apolo and Rondesp itself, businesses opened as normally and the population was the street. Only Barreiras highwa, close to where people were killed in an alleged shootout with police, vehicles of Operation Apolo, of the Military Police, went in a convoy – six vehicles together.
Later on, on Direta Engomadeira street, eight vehicles were still in place in the morning. From the outside, at least 20 heavily armed police kept watch on activity.
A Cabula resident and owner of a shop on Barreiras Highway in the vicinity of where the group was killed, a trader who declined to be named, said the mood in the region yesterday was quiet, compared to the previous day.
“Yesterday (Friday) I closed my store earlier, 12.30pm. The normal thing is to close at 6pm or 6:30. It was more a precaution, because people were very apprehensive, the climate was very tense. But today (yesterday) it’s better, I hope it continues that way.”
Another shop owner said he noticed a stronger police presence, more than what usually happens. “For now, it’s quiet, has quite a bit if policing. Yesterday (Friday), when I heard, I didn’t open the store,” said the owner of another property.
While expressing the mood of tranquility, she also preferred to speak anonymously. The same was said by a resident of the area, who took advantage of the opportunity to make purchases.
According to Major José Luís Santos, commander of the 48th Companhia Independente da Polícia Militar (Independent Company of the Military Police) (CIPM/Sussuarana), responsible for policing in the region, strengthening security will be indefinitely. “It started, actually, yesterday (Friday) evening. Today, it’s being strengthened as a result of some information we received, but it will continue indefinitely.”
The major did not say how many police are part of the reinforcement in the area, for strategic reasons. But there was reinforcing Shock Battalion outfits, Apolo and Gemini operations, Rondesp and 23rd CIPM/Tancredo Neves.
The body of another killed in the confrontation identified
The Instituto de Identificação Pedro Mello (Pedro Mello Institute of identification), of Department of Technical Police of Bahia (DPT), was able to identify the bodies of seven people who died in the police operation commanded by Rondesp in the early hours of Friday, in Cabula.
The action left 12 dead, all suspected members of a group that planned to blow up an ATM in the region. Yesterday, the seventh identified body was that of João Luiz Pereira Rodrigues, 21.
According to Major José Luís Santos, commander of the 48th Independent Company of the Military Police (CIPM/Sussuarana), at the location where the men were killed by the police, there was no information of new occurrences or of reprisals up until yesterday afternoon.
Note from BW of Brazil: As is the norm when reporting these types of stories that are all too common in Brazil, we will withhold full judgement on this and await the results of the investigation. But there are a few things to consider here. 1) It’s almost standard procedure that police allege that their victims shot at them first. 2) Even if the police claim that a few or even a majority of the victims had prior criminal records, we are appalled at the “Wild Wild West” tactics of the lethal Military Police. Do they have a license to kill? It certainly appears so. 3) The friends and families said that a shoot-out with the police never happened. As witness/community residents’ versions of events involving the police is often in conflict with the police story, I tend to side with persons of the community in situations such as this because killing young, black males is such a regular practice for the MPs. 4) Although the community defended the victims against accusations of shooting at police, I didn’t note anyone denying police claims that a group had its eyes on an ATM machine.
It’s too early to tell the outcome and facts of this case. What we can say is that the image of Brazil/Brazilian Police totally disregarding the lives of black youth has provided us with yet another example of the accusation. And as such, we have no reason to believe that Brazil will ever get serious about the open, blatant racist death wish that is claiming the lives of so many black youth.
1. Caixa Econômica Federal, also referred to as Caixa or CEF, is a Brazilian bank. It is the second largest government-owned financial institution in Latin America, after Banco do Brasil. Source