Note from BBT: Another disgusting video recently surfaced showing the aggressive tactics of Brazilian Military Police. So, really, what else is new? By now everyone show know how Brazilian security agents get down. In reality, there’s nothing really to discuss here in terms of how violent police can be. In an area in which everything can be filmed by security cameras or anyone with a cell phone, scenes such as this seem to pop up every other day.
There are a few points that I will make about a recent video that shows Military Police in Minas Gerais aggressively immobilize a woman. Although I can no longer be shocked by police tactics in Brazil particularly involving black people, I will say that it was appalling to see this happen while the woman was holding a child.
Even though I do reject seeing police handle a woman in such a violent manner, especially while she was holding a child, I must also remember the very good advice of American sociologist Neely Fuller who has repeatedly said over the years, when black people are confronted by police, they should not fuss, not fight, nor flee. Apparently, the woman shown in the video was carrying a weapon, which was the reason why police approached her and her partner.
Given the fact that we’ve seen what police do in such situations, often outnumbering the victims, and we know that onlookers never get involved, the better action to have taken in this situation would have been to simply comply with what the police requested. I know that many Brazilians will never acknowledge that police are much more aggressive when situations involve black people or take place where black and poor residents reside, there’s simply no way around this fact.
Just two weeks ago, we saw another incident that made headlines involving a black Brazilian and security forces. That incident also involved a child. In that incident, a black man who was with a child was immobilized and attacked by security guards inside the Anhangabaú station of the São Paulo subway. The case took place on October 20 with the aggressions being recorded. In the image, it was possible to see when the man receives was put in a “choke hold” and immobilized by security agents. A child, singled out as the boy’s son, was heard crying as the aggression took place.
Faced with the attack, the witness who recorded the video was heard asking the police not to kill the man while trying to calm the child down.
“Guys, don’t kill him. Sir, please, stop. He’s starving, man. Look at his son here,” exclaims the woman who witnessed the action.
On the ground, the man tries to resist while being immobilized by two security guards. The woman recording the video asks him not to resist and that the security guards not put their leg around the man’s neck.
In a report on the social network, the woman says that the man and the police were arguing because of an aggressive approach that the man had witnessed and that one of the agents allegedly pushed his son’s stroller, causing the child to fall to the ground. The witness goes on to say that the man spat in the security guard’s face after he continued pushing the child’s stroller.
Still according to the witness, “Another man recorded it but he was also beaten and immobilized outside the subway, I also had to stop recording because I started to be treated badly and intimidated,” the witness wrote.
Reading this report was also frustrating because, according to a witness, the actions of the police, in fact, provoked the man’s reaction. Any person would get upset if police were to take an action against their child, but we also know that, as in this previous case, police will retaliate violently, and as is usually the case, as shown in the previous case, witnesses will not get involved. But there still another angle to the first case that happened in Minas Gerais. Before I get into that, let’s check out the full story of what happened in the first incident.
Police immobilizes woman with child in her arms in Minas Gerais
The case happened on the night of November 5th. In a statement, the military police said the child suffered no injury
By Mirla Nobre
A video circulating on social networks since the night of October 5, shows a military police officer immobilizing a woman while she was with a child in her arms. The case occurred in the downtown region of the city of Itabira, in the interior of Minas Gerais state. In the images, it is possible to see the military police officer applying a blow to the woman’s neck, while she falls to the ground with the child in her arms.
In the images, it is possible to see the concern of people in the area. One of them managed to get the child out the woman’s arms while she was being immobilized. On social networks, many people associated the images to the case of George Floyd, in the United States, who died after being immobilized in a similar way by the police.
According to the G1 Minas Gerais website, the woman, whose name was not disclosed, is 18 years old and mother of two children who appear in the video. According to the Military Police, the woman and her partner, 25, were arrested for illegal possession of weapons. In a note, the Military Police said that the child did not suffer any injuries.
The Civil Police of Minas Gerais (PCMG) reported that the occurrence was destined to the Central de Plantão Digital and, so far, has not been received.
In a note published the following morning on social networks, the Brazilian Bar Association (OAB) of Itabira said it was “concerned” about the police approach used against the woman, and that the Board of Directors and the Human Rights Commission are already following the case.
Below is the Military Police note in full
“The Military Police of Minas Gerais (PMMG) clarifies that early this Friday night (11/05/21), in the city of Itabira, Central region of Minas Gerais, they arrested a couple for illegally carrying a firearm and ammunition.
During the approach four .32 caliber ammunitions were seized from the man. To prevent the seizure of the firearm she had, the woman held onto a child, using the child as a human shield and refusing to let go.
In addition to the firearm and ammunition, a ninja cap was also seized from the couple.
About the police action, Military Police of Minas Gerais also clarifies that the facts will be investigated by the institution in an administrative procedure.”
“Scene of mother and son assaulted by PM-MG is bolsonarism juice,” says professor Michel Gherman
“Criminalization begins in early childhood. In the case of peripheral residents and blacks. Aesthetically Nazi, slavocratic at root,” says historian. See other reactions to the scene
UFRJ professor and researcher Michel Gherman defined the scene in which the Military Police of Itabira, interior of Minas Gerais, assaults a woman with two small children – one of them on her arms, as “bolsonarism juice”. The term bolsonarism refers to policies, actions and ideologies of the heavily criticized current president, Jair Bolsonaro.
“The scene of the mother and child assaulted by the PM-MG is Bolsonarism juice. Criminalization begins in early childhood. In the case of peripheral residentss and blacks. Aesthetically Nazi, slavocratic at the root,” Gherman posted on Twitter.
Numerous other people voiced their outrage with the incident.
”Disgusting scenes of the Military Police of Minas Gerais immobilizing and stepping on a black woman with her baby in her arms while another child who was with her watched and tried to prevent it. I don’t think it’s possible to explain to these children that the duty of the police is to protect life.”
– Flavio Serafini (@serafinipsol) November 6, 2021
”This is no longer a country here. This is barbarism. What action will @RomeuZema @governomg who commands the @pmmg190 and @MPMG_Oficial who is responsible for the external control of the police take?”
”In the city of Itabira-MG, police knock down woman and put a knee on her neck with a child in her arms”
”This video is shocking and proves that the selection and training of the Military Police urgently need to be reviewed. The uniform cannot be authorization for the commission of crimes.”
”A black woman with toddler receiving ‘standard procedure’ and ‘moderate use of force’ from military police. Until when?”
Talíria Petrone #TemGenteComFome@taliriapetrone
”Revolting scene of a black woman being beaten and immobilized with a knee to her throat by PMs in Itabira, MG, while holding a child in her arms and another watching all this screaming. The name of this is institutional racism! We expect accountability!”
Note from BBT: The other point that I wanted to make in reference to the case in Minas Gerais as well as the one in the São Paulo is that many Afro-Brazilians believe that the nation’s military police is far more aggressive with its black and browns citizens in terms of the manner in which it deals with the public. For several years, study after study have shown that non-white Brazilians are more often approached and more likely to die due to police actions that white Brazilians. Even though violent police actions on the part of the military police are generally met with silence on the part of the white population, ocassionally, those self-identifying or classified as white do acknowledge a certain privilege they have in relation to police treatment.
Two videos shared on social networks demonstrate this. In one video, a white woman is seen shouting numerous offenses at the police. “You know you fu**ed up. You’re the trash,” shouts the woman. The PM replies that he didn’t say anything, but continues to hear the insults. “You just joined the police force. To me you’re a piece of sh*t, crap, I’m going to fuck you up. What do you think you are? You cursed my friend. You’re a piece of sh*t.”
The woman continued her verbal assault saying that the policeman can’t offend anyone. He replies that he will fine her. “Just because you have a gun there. You are a piece of shit who earns a thousand reais. A scumbag who just joined the police, you don’t even have an education. It eats away at you. You can fine me, I’ll pay it,” continues the woman. The policeman then says that he will file a complaint against her, and the woman closes the car door. “You don’t even have an education,” she continues.
No aggressive action was taken against the woman. Another thing to note here is that, once again, a white Brazilian verbally states that the person they are speaking to can take legal action or fine them and they will just pay the fine without fear of reprisal (see here, here and here).
Then we have an incident that happened in late May in a wealthy condominium in Alphaville, in the Greater São Paulo region. Military policemen were called to take action in a case of domestic violence and the suspect, a white man, tried to chase them away with cursing at them, some even similar to those of the white woman in the aforementioned case. “You may be macho in the periphery, but here you are a piece of shit,” shouted the businessman.
With this comment, the man also acknowledges the difference between how the police approach and treat residents in the peripheral, low income regions where black and browns are the majority and how security forces act in overwhelmingly white, upper crust regions. There have been numerous examples of white Brazilians acknowleging this privilege and making statements that they can simply pay fines and walk away from incidents unscathed, regardless of whether they disrespect black and brown citizens or the police.
One other example of this was when social network influencer Liziane Gutierrez was also recorded screaming at the police. In a video that went viral back in June, Gutierrez is seen swearing at the cops and nothing was done: “You are shit, you know why? Alexandre Frota harassed everyone in this bitch. Go take care of whoever… Go to the slum!” she said, shouting. Gutierrez was caught at a clandestine party in São Paulo in which hundreds of people participated in the middle of the covid-19 pandemic.
Again, we see a situation in which a white Brazilian curses out the police and tells them take their actions to the favela slums, a clear reference to the fact that Brazil’s Military Police have been entering poor communities with bullets flying, killing thousands of black, brown and poor residents for decades. In her comments, gutierrez also made reference to Alexandre Frota, who himself has an intriguing story. Frota is currently a federal deputy, Brazil’s equivalent to a congressman, a former model as well as porn star. Frota registered a police report against Gutierrez because of her comment.
The influencer is no stranger to controversy. Back in 2016, she made headlines after suing american singer Chris Brown and receiving a reported $70,000. the settlement came after Gutierrez said the singer or someone from his entourage assaulted her after she took his picture at the Palms Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Speaking on the incident, Brown said “Obviously somebody is looking to get a check or start some s**t. I don’t know this old looking b**th. This b**th is old, like dusty…Like she came to Vegas, she probably came to my room and was too ugly to get in,“ the star said.
This brings me to the most recent example of a certain ‘pass’ that white Brazilians seem to have in certain situations involving the police.
Passengers smash counter glass at airport after flight delay
Couple wanted the airline to offer a hotel for the family, who were traveling with a 5-month-old baby
By Rebeca Borges
Passengers smash window of airport counter after flight delay
A couple at the check in counter of Gol airlines broke the counter glass of the airline on Monday (11/1), after a delay in a flight departing from Guarulhos Airport in Sao Paulo.
The man, the woman and a 5-month-old child left the site on flight G3 1324, which was bound for the airport of Confins, in Minas Gerais.
However, the aircraft had to return to its initial destination due to bad weather. The couple asked the company to offer a hotel until the time of the next flight bound for Confins, and gbecame frustrated in the line.
In images circulating on social networks, it’s possible to see the moment when the woman screams when asking the company to offer a hotel for the family. She begins to hit the counter’s protective plate with slaps and punches.
“I’m going to start breaking it. Resolve this. Resolve this. He’s only 5 months old,” the woman says about her son. Then the husband takes the line organizer pedestal that was in the space and throws it against the protective plate of another counter.
The man became angry, screamed, and threw the pedestal on the floor, breaking the object. He claimed that he had already spoken to an attendant about the problem, but that he was still waiting for a solution.
“I want you to resolve this, my boy is 5 months old. Resolve this. The girl told me two hours ago. My boy doesn’t have to pay for this, I want someone to resolve this here now. I want the police, it’s not the boy’s fault,” he shouts.
Then the woman again asks the company to provide a hotel. “It took me 16 years to have my son, I spent $50,000. If this boy gets sick, if anything happens to him, I swear I will kill, I will kill one by one. Put my son in a hotel to take a bath. Put my son in a hotel,” she shouts.
What Gol airlines says
Sought by the report, Gol said that flight G3 1324 left Guarulhos and had to return to the airport “due to adverse weather conditions in Confins”.
According to the company, it offered “the necessary support to all customers” and all passengers were accommodated in hotels, “to continue traveling on flights scheduled for Tuesday.
The report could not locate the family that appears in the images. In addition, the Metrópoles website sought Guarulhos Airport for clarification. According to GRU Airport, the concessionaire that manages the space, the couple was taken to a Civil Police station.
“GRU Airport, the concessionaire that manages São Paulo’s International Airport in Guarulhos, called the Military Police and the passengers involved were taken to the Civil Police station, for registration of the occurrence,” the group said in a statement.
Joice Berth: ”So…I won’t get into the discussion about the couple’s attitude. Ok, we know that if they were black, at this point, they would be at the IML (Institute of Forensic Medicine) and the child at the Guardianship Council. Yes, there are horrible employees in dealing with the public, but still, they are working and they don’t deserve to be embarrassed like that.”
Note from BBT: In all of these cases, black Brazilians have made comments asking what would have happened had these confrontational white Brazilians been black. Well, regardless of any rheotoric that posits that ‘all Brazilians are equal’, I think we know the answer to this. And from all of the evidence I’ve seen, so does Brazil’s white population.