10 year old Shot dead by Brazilian raid cops
from various sources – December 2016
submitted by – Danielle Roberts
Updates on this case listed at the foot of this item
10 year old Eduardo de Jesus was killed on the 2 April 2015 during what is understood to have been a military-style police operation. He was shot outside his front door. The incident occurred in Alemão, one of the largest favelas in Rio. A favela is a shanty town run by drug traffickers in which the laws that apply to the area are set by the drug lords.
Images of the body of the 10-year-old child sprawled in a pool of blood at his family’s doorstep triggered widespread outrage, sparking protests in other nearby favelas as Local residents responded with anger and protests, throwing rocks and bottles at police. In the wealthier beachside neighbourhood of Copacabana a march for “peace” was held.
In the favela the military and police set up pacifying police units (UPP), the intent was to ensure that crime rates dropped, the residents were safer and the government are in charge of the towns.
In Alemão, during the months before Eduardo death there had been rising conflicts between the gangs and the authorities, with an increasing number of individuals being killed. This includes police officers and gang members as well as innocent bystanders and residents in the area who got caught in the gunfire.
Leading up to the killing of Eduardo, several police officers had been killed and just the day before there had been an exchange of gunfire between the two opposing sides which ended with an innocent woman being killed by a stray bullet.
According to reports, the police officer who shot and killed Eduardo did so because he believed that the cellphone that Eduardo had in his possession was actually a gun.
In the official reports there had been a lot of contradictions by the police and eye witnesses. Investigators found that the police officers involved in the shooting were acting in self-defence. The investigation stated that they were reacting to gunfire that was being shot in their direction by an unidentified subject. This directly contradicted eye witnesses that claim there was absolutely no exchange in gunfire.
At first, the investigation found no wrong doing by the officers involved. However, other reports emerged stating that an officer had been charged.
Initially the name of the officer was withheld, but eventually officer Rafael de Freitas Rodrigues was charged with homicide. The files that led to the conviction directly contradict the police finding of self-defence. Prosecutor Homero das Navas said the officer fired randomly without any proven aggression from the drug dealers.
Forensic evidence showed that the weapon that killed Eduardo was a police officer’s weapon. In total, 8 officers involved in the incident were put on suspension whilst the investigation was underway.
Amnesty International said that while the “internal investigations say the boy was killed by a stray police bullet during a gunfight with armed criminals, testimonies from the family, neighbours and even two of the police officers involved have raised doubts over whether the confrontation took place at the time of the killing”.
The fact that two police officers also came forward during the investigation raised doubt about the story that the officers had previously given.
Eduardo’s mother, Terezinha Maria de Jesus, saw her son be murdered by the police. A video that was posted online shows Terezinha in a distressed state after her son was shot; there was a line of police who she confronted. The officers responses were “I killed him, I can kill you too”, then they pointed the gun to her head.
Police officers have a responsibility to the public to ensure that they are safe and feel safe, instead, in Alemão; the public generally fear the police and have more respect for the drug lords.
After the tragic death of Eduardo, the whole community came together. Those who lived in Alemão blocked off road ways preventing access into the area, chanting ‘Justice, Justice’. Whilst over in the middle-class area of Copacabana there was peaceful protest as protesters walked alongside the beach. The gathering bared a cross and a black coffin with banners, and a fake funeral was held in memory of Eduardo calling for the violence to stop.
In the area of Alemão, more than 1,000 people were killed in alleged confrontations between 2014 and 2015.
In November 2015 a police officer was charged with homicide over the death of Eduardo. The charges filed against officer Rafael de Freitas Rodrigues challenged initial police findings that the officer fired in self-defence and that the 10-year-old was caught in crossfire.
No charges against Rio police in fatal shooting of 10-year-old boy
10 November 2015