Note from BW of Brazil: You know, I don’t get a thrill out of reporting these sorts of stories, and in fact, if it were necessary, I could cover them every single day, as black bodies falling to the ground is such a normal occurrence in Brazil. But I do feel that people should know that the outside world should know just how violent Brazil is and know the types of faces that are most commonly victimized. From January to November of last year, police forces in just the state of Rio killed 1,444 people. To put this number in context, in 2018, police forces in the entire United States killed 1,166 people. While you let that sink in for a minute, also remember that last year, Brazilians elected a man who wants police to KILL MORE people! The man featured in today’s piece, João Victor Dias Braga, was 22, which places him within the 18-29, young black male demographic for which activists have labeled “black genocide”. So much for Rio’s post card image…
Another young black man is killed after a drill is mistaken for a gun in Rio
João Victor Dias Braga, 22, was going to work when he was killed in a shootout on Tuesday afternoon in Taquara, West Zone of Rio de Janeiro. A resident of the Santa Maria community, João had a drill in his hand that may have been ‘mistaken’ for a gun, according to the boy’s relatives, reported O Dia newspaper. The day before, men from the 18th BPM (Jacarepaguá) had operations in the region to curb the action of drug traffic suspects.
João Victor lived with his girlfriend, Júlia Batista, 22, and her family. In an interview with the newspaper O Dia, the victim’s father-in-law, Leonardo Santos, 40, said that the community shooting started shortly after the boy left home: “He ate lunch, took a shower, took his things to leave for work and the shooting started,” said Leonardo. According to him, the young man worked as a DJ and set up scaffolding in a sound team.
Leonardo also said that he found out about his son-in-law’s death on Internet news. “We saw that he had died at the Hospital Lourenço Jorge, he arrived there as a criminal,” he said. “He was involved in a situation in which he was not. The police do their job and people who are residents don’t get involved, but with that they have to know who is a resident and who is a bad guy,” he says. João Victor was described by his relatives as a calm and dear boy where he lived.
Sought for information, the Municipal Health Department reported that “three bodies with no identification” were referred to Hospital Municipal Lourenço Jorge and then to the Instituto Médico Legal (IML).
João Victor was 22 years old and, according to his family, worked as a DJ – Reproducção / Redes Sociais
In a note the PM tried to justify the killings by saying that armed criminals attacked the military police and there was confrontation in the Santa Maria community. “When the shooting ceased, three criminals were found wounded withtwo guns, 40 caliber another, 38, and drugs. The injured were rescued and taken to the Hospital Lourenço Jorge in Barra da Tijuca,” says the corporation’s note.
It is not the first time that the Rio MP has mistaken drills with guns, but this only happens in the favelas and peripheries. In 2010, a police officer from the Special Operations Battalion (Bope), killed a resident of Morro do Andaraí, in the North Zone, confusing a drill for a gun. The victim’s family even said that the soldier fired without warning, and the corporation reported that the corporal who shot the resident shouted a warning and the victim made a sudden move. The PM was acquitted in 2012.
In September 2018, Bope police officers shot a waiter in the Chapéu Mangueira community in the Zona Sul. The victim had an umbrella that police said was mistaken for a rifle. Rodrigo Alexandre da Silva Serrano was waiting for his wife and son when he was hit by three shots. Police, however, said police had been alerted to criminals in the area and there was a confrontation.