Brazilians are outraged at the death of a mentally ill Black man, who was bundled in the trunk of a squad car before a gas grenade was fired into the vehicle, according to a video.
According to The Guardian, the event occurred on May 25 after federal highway police in the South American country pulled over Genivaldo de Jesus Santos, 38, in the city of Umbaba. Santos, who was in the police vehicle at the time of the event, can be seen kicking his protruding legs while two officers hold on to the trunk. From the vehicle, a dense gas cloud can also be observed.
As he went motionless, one onlooker reportedly stated, “They’re going to kill the guy.” Asphyxiation was determined to be Santos’ cause of death.
Santos had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, according to his family, and was on medicine. Alisson de Jesus, his nephew, was also there at the incident. He claimed he informed the cops about his uncle’s medical condition before they fired a tear gas grenade. He described it as a “torture session.”
According to The Guardian, police use of fatal force is prevalent in Brazil, and the country’s Black population bears the brunt of it. According to the Brazilian Forum of Public Security, Brazilian police killed 6,416 individuals in 2020. In addition, Black people accounted for roughly 80% of all deaths.
“Police officers turned a car into a gas chamber and executed a mentally ill man,” tweeted Renata Souza, a black activist, and Rio de Janeiro politician. “In the face of such inhumanity, there are no words.” “Brazil is a concentration camp!”
According to a statement made by the state of Sergipe’s federal highway police, officers used “immobilization measures” and “instruments with modest offensive potential” in reaction to Santos’ hostile behavior. Santos also became unwell while being transported to the police station, according to federal highway police. As a result, he was taken to the hospital instead. Santos’ family, however, said that by the time he arrived at the hospital, he had already succumbed to his injuries.
“These two scumbags are aware that they are being filmed, yet they are nonetheless sentenced to death. There is no longer any decency or shame. On Twitter, Douglas Belchior, a member of the Coalition for Black Rights human rights organization, tweeted, “They tortured and murdered the person.”
“How did the rest of your day go after that?” Mine will be awful because I or one of my friends could be the next victims,” he continued.
The federal police are looking into the event. In Umbaba, a protest demanding justice for Santos’ death was staged before his burial.
“This was a heinous crime.” Santos’ widow, Maria Fabiana dos Santos, told reporters, “They killed him with savagery.”