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The Aquino Case | Fallout Hits the PM

The maximUM overkill of one of our neighbors by the friendly neighborhood military police so far seems to be generating the public pressure the case deserves.

At a public hearing at the federal public prosecutor’s office on Thursday concerning the elevated number of homicides by São Paulo state police agents, Federal Attorney Matheus Baraldi Magnani said that his office would file a civil suit. “It is urgent that we request the immediate dismissal of the military police leadership in S. Paulo.»

And why should civilian leaders not also be asked to step down?

Cleaning up two corrupt and ultraviolent state police forces is, on the other hand, not a job for the faint of heart.

Even so, the SSP secretary — public safety — in Rio, the former federal police agent Beltrame, has begun to have some good success.

Lawyers for the three troopers who fired 7, or 8 — we counted eight, the shooting took place maybe 30 yards from out front gate — bullets into the car of a neighbor have not helped matters much in the public relations department.

«He (Aquino) was behaving just like a miscreant. He tried to flee and the police fired at him to prevent him fleeing. There was no error. Had he stopped when ordered, none of this would have happened», the attorney said.

Preventing flight is not a sensible justification for an overkill shooting like this, and in fact seems to imply that no self-defense justification is possible.

We return to the JB.

Magnani’s law suit is based on crimes committed by PMs in recent days. The case of Ricardo Prudente de Aquino, killed on July 18, is the most recent. “This is a good time to invite the federal courts to take part in the defense of human rights. It all develops out of a culture of apology for excessive violence. It gives rise to assassins who soon prove to be out of control.»

National human rights coordinator Rildo Marques de Oliveira says there is persecution occurring inside the police force. «You have a police sergeant who risks his life by refusing to take part in a death squad at his battalion. State judicial police are being fired for investigating these groups.»

Oliveira also called for putting an end to the military police.”The Brazilian PM is a failed experiment. We cannot have a police force constituted on the model of the military dictatorship».

Public defender Daniela Skromov de Alburquerque, another conference participant, criticized police methods. «They fire first and then go see who it was they have killed. The crime scene is not preserved. They do not even take the trouble to take fingerprints and notify the family.»

To the sound of protests and booing from an audience mainly composed of family members of victims, Col. Jair Paes de Lira, a former federal lawmaker, defended the PM. «All acts of illegal violence must be investigated, and we are not here to defend violence, but rather to ascertain the facts. There is no reason for a century-old institution to receive a public lynching».

Perhaps when elite police units like BOPE, in Rio, abandon their death-dealing imagery we can all breathe a sigh of relief. Below, from a recent change in command …