Genivaldo de Jesus dos Santos, 38, suffocated to death in the trunk of a police car in eastern Brazil.
The young black man was approached this Wednesday when he was driving his motorcycle down a street in Umbaúba, on the southern coast of the state of Sergipe.
The officers restrained him and forced him into the trunk of the police car, where a gas grenade detonated.
Footage from the scene shows two police officers holding the trunk the man was in, as a thick plume of smoke billowed from the car. Through the gap in the rear door, the man’s legs can be seen dangling as he screams inside the vehicle.
At another point, the officers pack more tear gas canisters and use pepper spray.
In the video, a witness is heard warning the agents that the young man suffered from mental disorders, something that was later confirmed by the victim’s wife, Maria Fabiana dos Santos, in local media.
After losing consciousness, the young man was taken to hospital, but did not survive.
The preliminary autopsy report said Thursday that Santos died of asphyxiation and respiratory failure, but could not determine what had caused it.
The Federal Highway Police (PRF, for its acronym in Portuguese) remarked in a statement that the young man “actively resisted” the police action and, in an attempt to contain him, they resorted to “immobilization techniques and instruments of less potential offensive”.
“Public security must protect, not kill”
The case of Genivaldo Jesus dos Santos has sparked shock and anger in Brazil, “with non-governmental organizations and opposition politicians saying it is the result of a violent police system that disproportionately treats poor black people,” said Nathalia Passarinho, from BBC News Brazil.
“Another black executed by the maos of the state. It is unacceptable,” said Renata Souza, a politician and activist for black rights.
After being subjected to criticism and street protests, the Federal Highway Police issued a more forceful statement, saying it had dismissed the officers involved and had opened an investigation.
On the other hand, the Public Ministry of Sergipe initiated another process to follow up on the investigations.
A protest was also held ahead of Santos’ funeral in Umbaúba on Thursday, G1 reported, where tires were burned on the road where he was killed.
“What happened is outrageous. Public security is to protect, not to torture and kill. It is unfortunate this public security system that has the attitude of seeing the citizen as an enemy,” said human rights activist Linda Brasil, councilor of Aracaju (capital of Sergipe) for the Socialism and Freedom Party (PSOL).
“We fight against this difference in approach that exists when it comes to someone black or from the periphery,” he added about a case that has brought protests to the streets of Umbaúba, in Sergipe, with the third highest rate of deaths due to police intervention in Brazil.
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BBC-NEWS-SRC: https://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-america-latina-61605830, IMPORTING DATE: 2022-05-27 13:20:05