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Military Police | Interview with the Alemão

Alemão — “German” — is what military police are called in the big cities.  Above, a brief scene of the beating of a senior military police colonel at a recent demonstration. A voice is saying “Get him! Get him! Get him! ”

Source: Diário do Centro do Mundo.

Military police trooper MJP spoke with DCM about police conduct during recent protests. In his opinion, the police are not prepared to handle the almost daily explosion of protests in Brazil. “There is no plan, there is no standard, there is no protocol. It gets complicated. If we act to put down the protesters, we are violent. If we do nothing, then we are complicit,” he says.

MJP, who works in São Paulo, believes the death of a young man, Douglas Martins Rodrigues, in the Vila Medeiros was accidental — a “fatality” –, but admits that police are more rigorous in the periphery. “It always has been,” he say.

The PM also spoke to the possibility of retaliation against the Black Blocs after the attack on Col. Reynaldo Simões Rossi, who had been assigned to supervise the Free Pass Movement rally scheduled for October 26.

Below, excerpts from the interview:

Are there any orders to retaliate against protesters after the attack on Col. Reynaldo?

Not officially. But the police will react with maximum force, right at the beginning, without waiting long. There will be a larger contingent on hand, and more force. You know the songs of [rappers] Os Racionais? There is one that says: “This is the loophole the system was waiting for.” What happened to the colonel was the loophole the system was waiting for. … It was the same rationale used to justify the attack on the Carandiru prison, for example. The rebellion of the prisoners was the excuse.

Do you believe that a frame-up occurred?

No, although that is what some of the black blocs are saying. The video shows this clearly. So much so that he lost his firearm.

Do the police have a plan of action for dealing with protests?

No. This situation, with protests on the street, is new, and no one knows exactly what to do about it. There is no plan, there is no standard, there is no protocol … Politically, it is very complicated: When we repress a demonstration, we are violent; when we do nothing, we are in collusion. The PM is lost. The state public safety secretary for São Paulo ordered us to “observe” so that we can later act. But this does not always work. During the protest on the Fernão Dias, people were burning things, making that huge mess … It was not until a truck was turned over that the troopers went into action, but it was too late by then.

What do you and your colleagues think of demilitarizing the military police?

I am for it. So are a lot of people. But no one questions anything inside the organiztion. The Amarildo case had broad repercussions. I am not sure that demilitarization will affect discipline. For it to happen, we will have to discuss career plans and various other things. For now, it remains nothing but speculation.

Is the death of Douglas one more example showing that police act differently in the urban periphery?

Yes, they always have. High-income areas have more men, more squad cars … That is how things work. The state is not present in poor neighborhoods, and that naturally includes the police.