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Post Mortem Ergo Propter Mortem | Citizen Journalist Down

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How much has changed since the Globo reporter’s 1992 exposé on São Paulo’s Maluf-era “police who kill”? Not much.

Ever since a group of military police riddled an entirely inoffensive neighbor of ours with bullets just a few yards from our front gate, I try to jot down other cases of this kind — the kind traditionally known as “resistance followed by death.”

To be fair, on January 9, the state trotted out a less Orwellian formulation: death as the consquence of an interaction with police, roughly. A note of mine from 2010 provides some of the context,.

True to form, the case of Mr. Aquino, our neighbor, has faded quickly from the headlines.

Another receent case in point — one with a citizen journalism angle to it — was the posting of an amateur video showing a São Paulo military police officer shooting a visibly unarmed and compliant suspect in the back, somewhere in the Southern Zone.

As soon as that footage came out on YouTube,  an amazing coincidence occurred: across the street from the previous crime scene, there was an extreme-overkill execution in which something like 50 rounds were expended on a man claiming authorship of the video, as he sat with friends in the local bodega, across from where the original crime occurred. The assailants reportedly entered the bar shouting, “Police!”

So what next? 

Bom Dia Brasil reports as follows.

Six military police troopers have been arrested on suspicion of having taken part in a mass execution in the Southern Zone of S. Paulo earlier this year, in which seven died. A crime scene investigation of the scene revealed that the rounds expended were police issue.

Witnesses say the criminals wore ski masks and escaped in a car.

The murders are thought to have been in reprisal for an amateur video clip show8ng a group of PMs approaching a contruction worker just moments before he was shot to death.

Police say that forensic testing shows that the shells expended at the site and two bullets retrieved from the bodies of the victimes, came from the pistol of PM Gilberto Eric Rodrigues, who is assigned to the neighborhood battalion near where the executions took place.

Also arrested was Anderson Francisco Siqueira, the PM in charge of the battalion’s weaponry.

A security camera recorded a car belonging to the elite The investigation shows that three men are inside the car: Sgt. Adriano Marcelo do Amaral, trooper Carlos Roberto Alvarez and corporal Patricia Silva Santos. They alleged provided cover for police in the other four cars present at the scene that night.

Internal affairs has said that the patrol car’s GPS system was not functioning at the time. “Turning off your GPS in order to make investigations more difficult, this is not the kind of conduct we condone,” said State Public Safety Secretary Fernando Grella. “The force has the courage … to realize investigations and point the finger of blame at bad police who will face justice as well as internal discipline,”  Grella said.

By «justice» we mean «military justice», you should understand. PMs are among the few privileged citizens not obliged to answer to civilian authority in cases of official misconduct or ordinary crimes.

Also arrested was PM Fábio Ruiz Ferreira, who police say was at the scene of the crime even though he was off duty. At his home, investigators found ninja masks and forged  license plates.