Brazilian police kill Genivaldo de Jesus Santos, a mentally ill man, in a squad car used as a gas chamber

Outrage is growing across Brazil at the recent spate of apparent police brutality after a mentally ill black man died in the trunk of a police car. The protests have turned violent after people blocked roads and set fires.

Video of the incident shows Genivaldo de Jesus Santos being pushed to the ground and handcuffed and then lifted up and stuffed into the tailgate of a clearly marked Brazilian Federal Highway Police car, where he died after a tear gas canister was thrown inside. “The images are just shocking,” said Samira Bueno, executive director of the non-governmental Brazilian Public Safety Forum Washington Post. “He’s a mentally disturbed person and it’s the story of you using the vehicle as a gas chamber to immobilize a person.”

The 38-year-old man struggles with his legs and then goes limp as thick white clouds pour out of the car. The man’s wife, Maria Fabiana dos Santos, told local media that her husband was murdered. “I don’t even call it death,” she said. “It really was a crime. They acted cruelly to kill him.”

Santos’ wife said her husband has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and was upset after he was pulled over by police. When they found medicine in his bag – presumably for his mental illness – they tried to arrest him.

“We kept telling the police that he had a heart problem, he had mental problems,” says Wallison de Jesus, his nephew The Washington Post. “And they continued the torture, telling everyone to stay away.”

A statement from both the Federal Police and Autobahn Police said the matter was being investigated and that the officers involved had been suspended, adding that he had been aggressive towards the police, who then used “immobilisation techniques and instruments with less offensive potential”. .

Police brutality under far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has increased in recent years, with a police operation killing 21 people on Tuesday after officers opened fire on civilians in a targeted drugs raid.

Activists say most people attacked by police are black. “There is no way out for Brazil that is not based on guaranteeing the lives of black people,” said Douglas Belchior of the Brazilian Black Movement delegation post Office.

According to the Brazilian Public Safety Forum, 80 percent of the 6,416 people killed by police in 2020 were black. “These two bugs know they’re being filmed and yet they got a death sentence,” tweeted Douglas Belchior of the Coalition for Black Rights. “There is no more decency or embarrassment. They tortured and executed the guy.” Brazilian police kill Genivaldo de Jesus Santos, a mentally ill man, in a squad car used as a gas chamber


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