The death of a black guy who was thrown into the trunk of a police car and killed with a gas grenade has provoked uproar in Brazil.
On Wednesday, Genivaldo de Jesus Santos, 38, was stopped in the street in the north-eastern city of Umbaba, Sergipe state of Brazil. As dense smoke billowed from the car, two officers were seen holding down the boot the man was in. Mr. Santos died of asphyxiation, according to an autopsy report released on Thursday.
A disciplinary investigation into the officers’ actions has been launched by Brazil’s federal highway police. The federal police have also launched an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Mr. Santos’ death. The incident has been reported in a variety of ways.
Mr Santos was detained after he “actively opposed” the police’s approach, according to a police statement, and because of his “aggressiveness… immobilization techniques and instruments with less harmful potential” were deployed to restrain him.
Renata Souza, a black lawmaker and activist, wrote on Twitter: “Another black person has been killed by the state. This is inexcusable.”
Mr. Santos’ nephew, Wallison de Jesus, said he was at the incident and said his uncle was riding a motorcycle when federal highway police officers stopped him and requested him to open his shirt. His uncle, he added, was on prescription medicine for schizophrenia and became nervous when the investigators discovered it.
Um dos policiais jogou uma grande quantidade gás no porta-malas — que a PRF chama candidamente de "instrumento de menor potencial ofensivo" —, mantendo a tampa pressionada. Ouvem-se gritos, urros mesmo, do Genival, que estava preso numa câmara de gás improvisada. pic.twitter.com/UQQZDF6Cky— Reinaldo Azevedo (@reinaldoazevedo) May 26, 2022
He alleged that after reporting his uncle’s condition to the police, “the torturing began.” Officers pinned him to the ground and hauled him into the van, he claimed.
Mr. Santos’ legs are seen dangling from the car, with the rest of his body inside, in video footage that has gone viral on the internet. Two officers are seen pushing down on the boot door as he kicks and yells, and a gas grenade appears to be thrown inside. As Santos’ legs cease moving, a passerby can be heard saying, “They’re going to kill the guy.”
The cops went for the police station, according to his nephew, and rushed him to the hospital when they realized he was unconscious. Mr. Santos was pronounced dead at the hospital, according to a police statement.
He died of asphyxia, according to an autopsy conducted by the state forensic medical institute, although the cause of death was unknown. However, Mr. Santos’ widow, Maria Fabiana dos Santos, called the occurrence “a crime” and claimed that her husband had never been aggressive.
The incident has sparked significant outrage in Brazil, with many criticizing the police’s purported behavior as racist. On the two-year anniversary of the police killing of George Floyd, a black man in the United States, the incident occurred.
According to G1, tires were set on fire on the road where Mr. Santos was slain during a protest held before his funeral in Umbaba on Thursday. In Brazil, police brutality is not uncommon. More than 20 individuals were killed earlier this week in a police raid in a Rio de Janeiro slum. Since then, police have been accused of employing excessive force against the deceased, which one human rights lawyer described as torture.
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