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Constantino | Did Amarildo Deserve to Die?


I wanna kill, kill, kill, kill the poor tonight –Dead Kennedys

I do not defend the  PM in the specific case of Amarildo. The responsible should be punished, without a doubt. But first of all, is it really true that Amarildo was merely an assistant bricklayer? And secondly, what of the hundreds who die in the shantytowns, many at the hands of drug dealers financed, in part, by the consumption of the caviar Left? –Rodrigo Constantino, October 15, 2013, Veja magazine

The libertarian pundit of the Instituto Milennium goes on to describe, accurately enough, the beatification of victims like Amarildo, who become the abstract symbol of a policy debate. Support the cause? Buy the T-shirt. On the other hand, newspapers need poster children who are emblematic of social conditions, and investigative, engaged human interest will be a part of journalism forever, one hopes.

But none of this is new, and the ugly implication of this line of reasoning is that if the victim was involved in the drug trade –his police record was clean and he was 41 when he died, according to newspaper reports — then the actions of the police might appear in a different light.

This is a repugnant and retrograde appeal to the rhetoric of the UDN in the 1950s.

Source: R7 Rio de Janeiro.

Military police suspected of involvement in the disappearance of Amarildo de Sousa have said they were ordered by Major Edson Santos and Lt. Luiz Felipe de Medeiros to conceal evidence that the bricklayer was tortured.

The accused also say they were obliged to give statements coordinated with the stories of their superiors.

According to prosecutors, these statements were reflected in affidavits of the accused after the charging of 15 more PMs on October 22.

The MP also says that the assistant bricklayer was tortured for nearly 40 minutes, in a small warehouse behind the container that houses the UPP unit in  Rocinha.

A UPP — “Police Pacification Unit” — is a shipping container fitted out as a mobile police station offering some stability to the communities where they are installed.

Along with electrical shocks, Amarildo was allegedly drowned in a bucket and suffocated with a plastic bag over his mouth and face.

The PMs said that on the day the torture occurred they overheard screams of pain and cries for help for about 40 minutes.  Prosecutors say that the attorney hired to defend the suspects at the time pressured the PMs to afford him access to what they had said in affidavits to the Homicide Division. 

In one version, the police said that on several occasions Major Edson, commandant of the UPP in Rocinha, had told everyone what they should say to the detectives.

Photos (above) show the locale where the crime was committed, prosecutors contend. The PMs supposely used cooking oil to clean up the bloodstains at the scene.

Agents of Gaeco — the state police special organized crime unit — and prosecutors collected affidavits over the past several weeks. At least five witnesses confirmed that  Amarildo was tortured at a location near the  UPP.

Prosecutor  Carmem Elisa Bastos, of Gaeco, believes four PMs  were involved in the torture: Lt. Luiz Medeiros, Sgt; Gonçalves and the rank and file troopers Maia and Vital. Affidavits indicate that 11 police were ordered to remain inside UPP container, but that they were able to hear the assault. Another 12 PMs kept watch. Police affidavits also indicate that Major Edson, currently imprisoned at the Bangu complex, was in his office, on the second floor of the container and across from  the torture scene. Witnesses also report hearing a request to bring a motorcycle cover in order to cover the body, which was removed from the warehouse through a hole in the ceiling that opened out onto the rainforest.

Below, a belligerent pronouncement by Constantino titled “Lula and Dilma: A Manual for the Destruction of Brazil.” With subtitles! Good ones!