Source: Brasil de Fato| Brasilianas.Org
The PM infiltrated men into the Pinheirinho prior to the eviction. The police agents were even spotted at a general assembly held in the central warehouse of the community and closing with the performance of “The Cordel-Rap of Pinheirinho” at 9:30 p.m. on January 21, 2012. Police say the action was designed to avoid more violent confrontations with residents. But the PM tactics were criticized by a number of public safety experts. According to Walter Maierovitch, “the Military Police used techniques from the time of the dictatorship. It infiltrated in order to identify the leaders.”
The forced eviction of slum squatters from the Pinheirinho community in suburban São José dos Campos in early 2012 is back in the news, as the trial begins of the 13 law enforcement personnel involved in criminal charges arising from the case.
The facts seem to speak for themselves, pretty much, but the first of these episodes may shed some light on current ones.
A lieutentant, two sargeants, a corporal and nine privates of ROTA — the elite “ostensive patrol” unit of the PMESP — were indicted this Wednesday (July 24, 2013) by military police internal affairs for sexual abuse, torture and inflicting bodily harm.
The crimes were committed last January during the invasion by the military police (PM) as part of the ejection of local residents in Pinheirinho, a slum in São José dos Campos, in inland São Paulo.
I keep wanting to call it “upstate São Paulo,” but São Sebastião is not Fire Island. (Come to think of it, a favela is not necessarily a “slum,” either. )
The six victims, four men and two women, had been approached by police in the Campo dos Alemães neighborhood, about 3 km from Pinheirinho, around 11:30 p.m.. Three were walking in the street and were stopped by police, who accused them of drug use. The other subjects ran into a house, where they were detained.
The criminal complaint was registered by one of the women in the house. At the time, she informed the state prosecutor that they had been forced to perform oral sex and that one of the men was [impaled?].
Empalar … my research tells me … is a mode of torture involving the forced insertion of some elongated object into some orifice.
The materiality of the assaults was confirmed based on forensic evidence and medical inspection of the bodies of the victims.
The PM did not learn of the charges until it read about them in the press in January 2012. The police officers involved were then immediately removed from active duty. Another trooper, from the PM Operations Command (Copom) in São José dos Campos, was accused of prevarication — when a civil servant fails to perform official duties — when she answered the 190 call from one of the victims but failed to draw due attention to the situation.
Pinheirinho, with its 1.3 million cubic meters, belongs to the bankrupt estate of Selecta, a company belonging to the Naji Nahas group.
1,600 families who had lived in the area for 8 years, were evicted in a violent manner by more than 2,000 police, who were carrying out orders from a state court and the São José dos Campos city government.
This all happened in late January of 2012. Most recently:
On Friday (19 July, 2013 ), some 400 former residents carried out a lightining occupation of Pinheirinho to protest the delay in construction of popular housing for families evicted a year and a half ago. The promise made by city and state governments immediately following the eviction has not been met, and the ex-residents say that the rent subsidy of R$ 500 paid by the city is not enough to pay for housing in the city.
After the eviction, Pinheirinho was completely abandoned.. Where once stood hundreds of houses, small businesses, public squares and churches, there is a giant, overgrown vacant lot. The belongings of families violently evicted were stored in a warehouse, where they remain. The former residents claim that after the blitz attack by police, an unidentified group set fire to the warehouse, burning the furniture stored inside. (Additional reporting by Sindimetal/SJC)
A blow by blow of the incident maintained on Wikipedia makes for an interesting point of comparison with current police doctrine on how to get someone to do what they would rather not, and damn the consequences.
The PM showed up at the site on 22 January 2012 and began the eviction operation at 6 a.m.
Around 7 a.m., some residents , who to that point had not reacted, began to resist. Residents and journalists say the PM used gas bombs and rubber bullets in an indiscriminate manner even where resistance was lacking.
The daily O Estado de São Paulo ran a story on pregnant women allegedly assaulted by police even though they were not putting up a fight. Jenifer Moreira, 18 and five months pregnant, was attacked with pepper spray while waiting for the PM to arrive and perform triage. Acccording to Jenifer, “it was a whole lot of screaming. The police arrived with bombs and spray. My eyes were burning.” By sometime around 5:00 p.m., the PM had established control over 50% of the neighborhood.
On January 22, 2,000 PMs reinforced by members of the civil guard, along with two Eagle helicopters, armored cars, gas bombs and rubber bullets, carried out the eviction. Also on the scene were 220 patrol cars, 40 dogs, and 100 horses. 30 people were arrested, 16 or 17 early on and another 14 on the morning of January 22.
(At the outset of the operation, official sources reported 11 arrests.) A young man who was shot and seriously wounded and other residents also wound up in hospital.
Scenes of violence were transmitted over the UOL Web portal and at least three other outlets and … showed PMs launching bombs and rubber bullets at residents, including women with children at their breast running away as fast as they could. Residents later responded with barricades. A car belonging to TV Vanguarda, a Globo affiliate, was burned.
Globo often catches a lot of flack — not a metaphor — from all sides during fighting in the streets.
A 15 year-old-resident of Campo dos Alemães confesses responsibility.
At 5:30 p.m., residents of the neighborhood next door threw rocks at police and broke down the wire fence that surrounded the Campo dos Alemães sports and recreation center. In reprisal, they received rubber bullets and gas bombs. At one point, the Guarda Civil Municipal went so far as to fire into the air and aim rubber bullets directly at the crowd. At 5:53 p.m, the climate remained tense, and the occupation was only 50% complete.
Trade union groups and news portals say that the city used tractors to tear down a chapel built by the community , as well as other property improvements. At 8:00p.m., residents clashed again with the PMs. Explosions and gunfire were heard after the burning of a car near a PM base.
On January 23, the task was still not accomplished. The PM said that the eviction went peacefully, but the Folha de São Paulo was present when officers of the Guarda Civil Municipal were beating residents and the PM using their gas and pepper. Rumors were that six cars burned during the night were destroyed by movement sympathizers and not residents.
The PM infiltrated men into the Pinheirinho prior to the eviction. The police agents were even spotted at a general assembly held in the central warehouse of the community and closing with the performance of “The Cordel-Rap of Pinheirinho” at 9:30 p.m. on January 21, 2012.
Police say the action was designed to avoid more violent confrontations with residents. But the PM tactics were criticized by a number of public safety experts. According to Walter Maierovitch, “the Military Police used techniques from the time of the dictatorship. It infiltrated in order to identify the leaders.”
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