Rio de Janeiro Police are Deadliest

Josenildo dos Santos was assassinated by military police from the 1st Battalion in April 2009 at Morro da Coroa.

From then on, the families, friends and the Network Against Violence initiated a fight for justice. This would lead to the naming of four Military Police officers (Rio’s street-level crime prevention outfit): Vagner Barbosa Santana, Carlos Eduardo Virgínio dos Santos, Jubson Alencar Cruz Souza and Leonardo José de Jesus Gomes for homicide charges. This victory for the family of Josenildo and for the community seems to have irritated the 1st Battalion and led them to attempt retaliation. On the eighth of February 2010, two relatives of Josenildo’s, a cousin, a sister, and a close friend were directly threatened by police officers during an incursion that resulted in the deaths of two youths.

One month later, on the ninth day of March, after having been postponed in the end of last year because the defendants’ witnesses failed to appear, the first hearing was carried out. Facing the amount of people to be heard, the judge determined that they might take statements from defendants’ witnesses at another time; that was set for the 15th of June at 13:30, in the II Jury Tribunal.

Family and friends of Josenildo’s held a demonstration in his memory. However, on Friday and on Saturday, military police carried out incursions, including their use of the “caveirão” (Armored Military Police Vehicle). In both of these operations, the MPs tore down some posters in the community, particularly those that announced the date of the next hearing. Residents heard comments made by police that they should have carried a carving knife in order to remove the posters and also to cut off the heads of those who were posting them.

Still after, the threats materialized; an attack was made against Macário, one of Josenildo’s brothers, while driving his car. Immediately after stopping, Macário directly contacted the Public Ministry, the Alerj’s (the state lawmakers) Human Rights Commission, and Network Against Violence.

Accompanied by militants from the Network and a member of the Human Rights Commission, he went up to the 7th Police Station, in the neighborhood of Santa Teresa, but the investigator declined to file the complaint. His unwillingness was to record that it was a premeditated attempt at murder, even after the threats under which the family had lived since Josenildo’s murder had all been reported. After insistence by the Human Rights Commission lawyer present, the investigator finally agreed to register the case as being related to the threats made by police from the 1st Battalion.

Then, Macário was directed to the ICCE (Carlos Éboli Criminalistics Institute), in the Centro, for an examination. Contrary to the initial claim by police that were first on the scene, that said the wound had been caused by a stone, experts were emphatic in their assertion that it was a gunshot wound and that it seemed intentionally fired at him.