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Salvador | Bloody Monday Mars Fat Tuesday

Haití é aquí
Haití não é aquí –Caetano

Community journalist Enderson Araújo of Mídia Periférica reports, with support from the Correio, and CartaCapital retransmits:

Over a period of 3 days, Salvador military police (PM) kill 15 black youth. Witnesses say that [some of] the victims were approached and shot by men in civilian clothing with their faces covered. A resident of the Cabula neighborhood in Salvador belied the version of the Bahian PM concerning the killing of 12 youth during what they said was a firefight in the early hours of February 6.

The source says the young men willingly surrendered and were not armed when they were executed. The information is from the daily Correio of Salvador. “Our contacts with social organizations and reports from the community suggest that some of these killings were of prisoners who had already been secured,” says Amnesty International

Community journalist Enderson Araújo of Mídia Periférica reports, with support from the Correio, and CartaCapital retransmits:

Over a period of 3 days, Salvador military police (PM) kill 15 black youth. Witnesses say that [some of] the victims were approached and shot by men in civilian clothing with their faces covered. A resident of the Cabula neighborhood in Salvador belied the version of the Bahian PM concerning the killing of 12 youth during what they said was a firefight in the early hours of February 6.

The source says the young men willingly surrendered and were not armed when they were executed. The information is from the daily Correio of Salvador. “Our contacts with social organizations and reports from the community suggest that some of these killings were of prisoners who had already been secured,” says Amnesty International director Átila Roque, who called on the state government to mount a detailed investigation into the killings and to protect witnesses in the case. The joint movement Fight Back or Die — [Reaja ou Será Morta] — which unites Bahian black men and women, also requested a meeting tomorrow with the state public safety secretary, with the participation of Amnesty and Global Justice. The reporters who produced the report for the anti-violence group Ponte acquired video of the corpses in the Hospital Roberto Santos, where they were taken. Three had bullet wounds in the back, another three in the chest, and one presented with a bandage wrapped around its head. In one of the videos it is possible to see a uniformed police trooper recording images of the corpses with his cell phone. The images are very disturbing, and so we have chosen not to publish them.

According to the public safety secretary of Bahia, the firefight broke out at around 4:00 a.m. in the Estrada das Barreiras. Rondesp (a special force group) had allegedly received word that a group of men planned to assault a banking branch in the region. Nine PMs, divided among three squad cars, responded to the scene. When they arrived, they found a motor vehicle and six men standing near a branch of the Caixa Ecomnômica. As the police approached, they were fired upon and the group of five or six men fled in the direction of a thick forest, where other members of the gang were hiding: approximately 30 persons said to be involved.

During the gunfight, together with the 12 fatalities, another three young men were hurt and a PM sergeant was grazed by a bullet. “It is a surreal situation: 30 armed men against 9 policemen and a scratch was all that the police suffered,” a resident told Ponte. In a press conference, Bahia governor Rui Costa said that there would be no punitive action against police whose behavior was demonstrably legitimate.

Watch the press conference in its entirety, in Portuguese, above.

“When an operation that ends in 12 deaths is viewed as something normal, this is a sign of a failed policy for the law enforcement sector,” Roque said.

In the community the climate is tense. “Since Friday, shops are shutting down at 5:00 p.m. Today we have been hearing fireworks all day long. Here, if you hear fireworks, you know there will be gunfire soon,” another resident told Ponte, requesting that his identity not be published. “There are desperate people here, the community is full of police.”

Rodesp Kills Three More

Another three young men were killed this weekend in Salvador during operations by the elite  Rondesp (Rondas Especiais). In the earlier morning hours of February 8, there was a gun battle in the Sussuarana community that resulted in the death of Bruno Ramos Mendes Santos. On Saturday Rondesp killed two young men in the Cosme Farias neighborhood. In three days, 15 young black men are gunned down.

The Sussuarana operation began after a PM was shot on Direta de Pituaçu Street. The shooter was not identified. Next, squad cars from Rondesp and the Shock Battalion entered the community in search of suspects. This was the moment, according to residents, when men in civil attire and heads covered with T-shirts shot Bruno and broke into houses in search of someone. About 2 km away, on   São Cristóvão Street, police conducted obscene pat-downs of young black men, ordering them to take off their clothes to make searching them easier. The version of the Secretaria de Segurança Pública (SSP) is the same in all cases: the young men were involved in drugs or illicit activities, they fired on police, and the police returned fire in legitimate self-defense. Regarding the actions of Rondesp in Cabula, Bahian Governor Rui Costa was heard to say that “every cop is like a striker in front of the goal.” Prior to any official investigation of  the PMs, the governor was already promising there would be no dismissal of police without proof of wrongdoing.

Amnesty, for its part, saw signs of summary execution in the events and asked the Bahian government to investigate the case in great detail.   What happened was an act of ethnic cleansing, a genocide of young black men … One of the measures called for by advocacy groups is to guarantee that Bill No. 4471/2012 comes to a vote in Congress, in that it will obligate investigations into the killings of young black men in cases of “resistance followed by death.”  Bill No. 4471/2012 …

prevê que mortes e lesões corporais decorrentes de ações de agentes do Estado, como policiais, por exemplo, tenham um rito de investigação semelhante ao previsto para os crimes praticados por cidadãos comuns. A reportagem procurou as secretarias de comunicação do Governo da Bahia e de Segurança Pública e a assessoria de imprensa da Polícia Militar para falar das mortes no Cosme de Farias e da operação no Sussuarana, mas não obteve sucesso.