Note from BBT: Before I get into today’s story, I must first reveal that I’ve been aware of it since Monday afternoon when the story began to spread through the press. Having mentioned this latest slaying of young black people in Rio, I said that I was really at a loss for words after becoming mearning of yet another example of Rio’s murderous police and I was also weary of registering another such case on the blog considering the events of recent weeks. Three weeks ago, a black man was assaulted, beaten and killed by security agents in Porto Alegre, in the country’s south, in a murder that has been compared to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in the US.
After protests across the country and the black population still reeling the shock of that brutal murder, we then learned that two children, cousins, Emily and Rebecca, ages 4 and 7, were killed when they were struck by bullets as they played in front of their home in the Duque de Caxias region of Rio. Police have denied firing the fatal shots, as usual, but the family having witnessed the incident had certainty that the police were responsible for the fatal shots.
As such, I was little hestitant in posting yet another tragic story. The details of this case seem to confirm, once again, what I’ve claimed for years: There is an unwritten policy of black genocide in Brazil. The full story is below. I will weigh in with my thoughts later in the story.
Policemen are filmed shooting black youths during approach in RJ
Boys were found dead in another location, and MPs were arrested in the act after the boys’ families obtained the images
Two Military Police (MP) officers were filmed shooting two young black men on a mopad during a stop in Belford Roxo, in the Baixada Fluminense region of Rio, on Saturday morning (12/12). The boys were found dead in another location, and the MPs were arrested in the act after the boys’ families obtained the images.
The video shows the victims riding by on a moped when they slowed down and dodged the police, who intercepted them. One of the officers raised his rifle. A flash is seen coming out of the gun, indicating a shot from close range, and the young men fall to the ground as the driver lost his balance. The recording, made around 1am, shows no resistance or any apparent reason for them being shot.
Then the same police officer kicks one of the fallen boys, who is searched, and a white car that was behind the vehicle leaves the scene. One is taken to the other side of the street with his head down, and the other one crawls to the same place with his hands raised.
Minutes later, still alive and walking, the young men get into the police car. One has a shirt tied around his head, where he appears to have been injured. The MPs then leave the scene, one driving the vehicle with the victims and the other, riding the moped.
A camera from another angle shows what happened while they were across the street. One of the policemen hits the head of one of the sitting boys with the barrel of his rifle, who then gets up, turns his back to the wall and is handcuffed.
The bodies of the two young men were found in a location known as Babi, a few kilometers away from the occurrence. The Homicide Division of the Baixada Fluminense is investigating the case.
The dead youth are Edson de Souza Arguinez Junior, 20, who was in the second year of high school and worked as a street vendor, and Jhordan Luiz de Oliveira Natividade, 17, who worked in a car wash, according to their families. They were buried on Monday (14).
“My son was everything to me. He was loving, very playful. I was the love of his life and he was my love. They destroyed a family. I won’t say that he had no defects, because we all have them, but his qualities surpassed all his defects,”Edson ‘s mother, Renata de Oliveira, said.
“These monsters are not people, because if they were, they wouldn’t kill for killing. They could beat them, take them to jail, to the hospital. They had the opportunity, but they thought it better to kill, to take a life. It’s a little piece of me that is gone,”she lamented.
Jhordan’s aunt, Vanessa, said he had just turned 17. “He was a great boy. He was an excellent boy, great as a son, grandson, nephew,” she said while preparing the t-shirts that the family would wear to the funeral.
The families began a search for the boys on Saturday morning. Upon being informed of a police stop, relatives of Jhordan went to the scene and noticed that there were security cameras. In the afternoon, they learned of two bodies found in another neighborhood.
The expertise carried out subsequently at the site of the stop indicated that there was blood on the ground, as well as on the vehicle mats. The policemen left their duties without reporting anything to their superiors, and the armament control book of the day of service doesn’t account for any firing, which contradicts the scenes observed in the video.
The images were presented to the 39th PM Battalion (Belford Roxo). With that, Corporal Júlio Cesar Ferreira dos Santos and Soldier Jorge Luiz Custodio da Costa returned to the battalion to testify. Then they were taken to the homicide division in the region and arrested in the act.
On Sunday (13), the Central Custody Court converted the prison into a preventive one, understanding that this would be necessary to guarantee the regular progress of the investigation of the process. Judge Rafael Rezende concluded that there is evidence of authorship and proof of the materiality of the qualified homicide.
“There are strong indications that the custodians, in order to cover up an unsuccessful police stop, ended the lives of the victims in order to hide their past behaviors, and it remains evident that precautionary arrest is necessary to guarantee public order,” he wrote.
“Furthermore, the simple fact that the custodians have not registered the occurrence in any police station, nor referred to another agency, having left duty without reporting anything to their superiors, demonstrates that they don’t intend to collaborate with the investigations, being certain that the regular progress criminal investigation must be guaranteed by preventive segregation,” he added.
At police headquarters, the agents confirmed the stop, but denied the shots. Both gave almost identical statements, and reported that the rider of the bike lost control by deviating from Custódio. Therefore, the young people fell.
They also stated that the head wound on one of the victims probably occurred due to the fall and that they asked if they wanted to be taken to the hospital, but that they refused. They said they searched the boys and found nothing to indicate any crime.
The agents also said that the youths were placed in the vehicle so that a search for a criminal record could be carried out at the police station. After driving about 40 meters by car, however, they reportedly released the victims, as they concluded that the referral would not be necessary.
In his testimony, Custódio said that they let the young men go because the search for a criminal record was done along the way. He acknowledged that releasing suspects before arriving at the police station is unusual.
The agents also said that they were on routine patrols when they were told that Custódio’s mother had become ill and was at the municipal hospital in Belford Roxo. Leaving the health unit, the police alleged returning to the street where the moped passed by.
They said they stopped there because they saw a car parked and, by time and region, considered the situation suspicious. According to them, the young people passed by right after approaching the vehicle.
Chief Uriel Alcantara Machado Nunes reported that Custódio refused to provide his cell phone unlock password.
“The need to issue a court order in order to determine the breach of the defendant’s telephone secrecy is unquestionable, and should fall on his device, which is seized. To that end, a judicial letter must be issued determining the extraction of everything that is of interest to the investigation, in particular, record of calls, photographs and application conversations,” he wrote.
In a note, the Military Police said that the police were heard by the 3rd Military Judicial Police Station and that their weapons, both corporate and private, were collected and presented to the Civil Police.
The corporation also stated that, as soon as the corporation’s command became aware of the facts, all relevant measures were taken immediately. The Civil Police did not answer which procedures have already been carried out in the investigation and which still are to come.
Custodio’s lawyer, Paulo Vinícius Ribeiro, was contacted, who said he was still having access to the file and could not provide further details. It was not possible to contact the defense of Corporal Julio Cesar Santos.
The bodies of Edson and Jhordan were found in an area dominated by the militia in Belford Roxo (RJ). The corpses were on Estrada de Xerém (Xerém road), in the Babi neighborhood, a region under the control of paramilitaries, less than 3 km from the spot where they were shot at close range by Custódio da Costa.
Sources linked to the Civil Police do not rule out the possibility of a link between the crime and the militia, as the youth lived in an area dominated by trafficking. However, that link is not officially confirmed.
In testimony, they denied the shot that appears in the video and justified the action because Edson and Jhordan seemed to display a “suspicious attitude”.
Both the military policemen that appear in the video live in Belford Roxo (RJ), the same municipality in their area.
Corporal Júlio César resides in Heliópolis, the same neighborhood where Marcio Cardoso Pagniez is active, known as Marcinho Bombeiro (PSL), who ran for the position of city councilor for the fourth time in this year’s elections behind bars and remained as an alternate. The social media campaign during the election didn’t mention the fact that he was running behind bars.
Accused of leading a militia, Marcinho has been in preventive custody since October 2019 and is a defendant for allegedly participating in the death of two young men in April 2017.
MP Júlio César, 41, worked in the battalion of the same municipality where he has lived since May 2015, when he was transferred from the 16th BPM (Olaria), in the northern area of Rio de Janeiro. Ten years in the corporation, he was complying with a protective measure of the Maria da Penha Law, for domestic violence.
The soldier Jorge Luiz, the author of the shooting caught in the video, has no notes at the corporation, where he has been active for just four years. In June 2018, he was transferred from the 15th BPM (Duque de Caxias) to the Belford Roxo battalion (RJ).
The two rifles and their two pistols were handed over to the Civil Police by the MP’s internal affairs department. The Baixada Fluminense Homicide Police (DHBF) is trying to identify the driver of the white vehicle that was on the scene at the time of the shooting caught on video.
Note from BBT: There are several glaring facts that jump out at me in this case.
1) What did the police consider to be “suspicious” behavior of two young black men riding by on a moped? Or was it simply the fact that they were black and riding on a moped?
2) Even if there something “suspicious”, what warranted them to shoot at them? Whatever happened to pursuit and pulling over?
3) What did the young man do that caused one of the officers to kick him in the back on the ground? He was already on the ground and most likely no threat whatsoever, especially for an armed Military Police soldier. The same question applies to one of the officers striking one of the young men in the head with a rifle butt.
4) The police ran the records of the young men and found no prior criminal reports.
After all of this, it is still not exactly clear what happened to the young men as their bodies were found a short distance from where the security cameras recorded the incident. As the bodies were apparently dumped and there were gunshot wounds on the bodies, it appears clear that the young men were murdered. But were they murdered by the police? The area where the bodies were found was a region known for its militia presence. Did the Military Police deliver the young men and then militia forces assassinated them?
Two more questions. What did the two young men do that the police labeled their behavior as “suspicious”? Also, if the police ran their records in the squad car and found them to be clean, why were they murdered? I ask these questions for those who might think, “You’re not suggesting they were killed just because they were black, are you?” I would respond, seeing that the vast majority of young people killed in this manner are black, people killed by death squads are also mostly black, what other conclusion could there be.
I can’t even really bat an eye at the fact that the two Military Police involved were also black as, unfortunately, this is quite common in Brazil. Thus, up to this point, we know that the two young men weren’t armed and they had no prior criminal records. So, until I learn of more details to contrary, this looks to me like yet another case of state-sponsored black genocide.
Wake of black youths killed in PM stop in RJ
‘Can’t a black man ride a moped?’, questions the mother
The bodies of the dead youths were buried in the municipal cemetery of Belford Roxo.
“They couldn’t ride a moped just because they are black? I’m slapping my face because your son might be next,” said Renata Santos de Oliveira, mother of Edson Arguinez Júnior, who rode the bike and appears in the video with a head injury.
“I can’t touch, I can’t see his face. My son was not supposed to be here,” said Alecsandra, mother of Jhordan Luiz Natividade.
Analysis of the Civil Police concludes that youths murdered by MPswere shot and killed in the face and in the back
Jhordan was executed with a shot to the face. His friend, Edson had three punctures caused by gunshots, one in the back and two in the belly. This is the conclusion of a preliminary analysis by the Civil Police at the scene of the crime.
According to the analysis of the Civil Police, Jhordan had holes in the eyebrow and in the neck. According to information from a preliminary investigation carried out by the Homicide Police (DH) of Baixada Fluminense, investigators suspect that the shot went in through the front of the head and out through the back.
The police, who are under arrest, will again be heard by investigators from the Homicide Police Station of Baixada Fluminense. They are expected to reveal the exact trajectory they made after leaving the scene of the stop. No new date has yet been set for police officers to be heard.