Rio police tampered with scene of shooting death
from various sources – October 2017
submitted by – Sobia Begum Hussain
news updates will be listed at the foot of this item
Eduardo Santos Victor, a 17-year-old teenager, was shot on 29 September 2015 by five police officers in Rio, Brazil. After shooting the teen it was alleged that the police officers then put a gun in his hand and fired twice in the air to leave gunpowder residue on his hand and make it look as if he fired first and thee police fired back as self-defence.
As Eduardo lay dying in a pool of his own blood, one local resident recorded video footage of a police officer placing a pistol in Eduardo’s hand and then firing twice so that the incident would appear one of self-defence. A lawyer representing the officers said; “they were emptying the gun to make it safe and then to transport Eduardo’s body.”
In their version of events, police said the teenager was part of a gang that had attacked police patrol in the favela. The police argue that they are often deliberately targeted by Rio’s powerful drugs gangs, some of which are more heavily armed than the police. But Homicide Divisions Andre Leiras found this version to be incompatible with evidence at the crime scene.
The autopsy report revealed that Eduardo was shot while lying on the ground. According to the report, wounds show that Eduardo fell down after being either kicked, punched or hit with a rifle butt, and then was shot later.
The resident who recorded the video footage said; “that could have been my child! That’s the UPP! The bogus UPP!” (She was referring the Portuguese initials for the Pacifying Police Units that are supposed to be bringing peace to Rio’s Favelas).
The women who recorded the video footage had reportedly been threatened by police and was offered protection by the Civil Police Homicide Division. Another resident told the Globo TV; “He [Eduardo ] was armed but he surrendered and raised his hands, they shot him.” The officers involved in the shooting registered the killing as a case of justifiable self-defence.
Hundreds of residents staged protests demanding justice.
The policeman involved in the shooting later registered the incident as an instance of necessary self -defence.
The five police officers Eder Ricardo de Siqueiro, Gabriel Julian Floriado, Riqauel Paul Gerard, Paulo Roberto da Silva and Pedro Victor da Silva were charged with fraud and manipulating evidence and subsequently detained to a military police prison. It was later reported that officer Paulo Roberto da Silva had confessed to shooting Eduardo.
The Civil Police Chief, Fernando Veloso, announced that all self-defence killings by Police would now be investigated by the Homicide Division.
At Eduardo’s funeral in the sprawling Sao Jolio Batista Cemetery, mourners had arrived on buses from Providencia Favela where Eduardo lived and grew up and died. The air was heavy with emotion, Eduardo’s mother and grandmother were inconsolable as they watched his coffin being slid into place in the cemetery wall.
A family friend made a speech saying that if the resident did not have that video footage of the brutal killing of Eduardo the shocking truth may never have been revealed.
Jose Mariano Beltrame, Rio’s Police Chief, has vowed that any rogue officers will be dismissed and prosecuted. When a reporter asked Mr Beltrame if Rio had a problem with officers who shoot first and ask questions later, he replied; “That’s not true. If you look, we have figures that show the number of police killings, and those are falling,” he added: “Yes, we used to have ‘cops who kill’, but today you can only say that in a few cases.”
Eduardo’s killing received widespread attention from both national and international mainstream media immediately. His death and the video proving police corruption and brutality has thrown a spotlight on the role of social media in reporting police violence and on the importance of video recording in order to show evidence of grave human rights violations.
Brazil’s police kill more and are killed in greater numbers than police anywhere else in the world. Reports of execution-style killings are commonplace, but it is usually only when incidents are filmed that justice is done.
The majority of the victims are black or mixed-raced youths from favelas. In the state of Rio de Janeiro alone, more than 300 people were reportedly killed by police in the first six months of this year.
Video shows how Brazil police cover up killings
2 October 2015
Rio de Janeiro: Beguiling, beautiful and brutal
3 October 2015