“Mr. Governor, your police killed an entire family”: Body of teenager killed in police operation in São Gonçalo is buried with calls for justice

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Note from BW of Brazil: As I’ve said before, it’s really hard to even come up with any more words to say regarding Rio’s and Brazil’s genocidal policies against its black population. When the governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro tells the father of 14-year old João Pedro Matos Pinto that he understands his pain because he is also a father, in reality, I simply can’t accept these words. Why would I? The state of Rio has been violently invading and sending black bodies to graves for years, but the shocking numbers of police murders in these past few decades have really been led me to believe that this is not simply the result of bad policing. A few people losing their lives in the line off ire would be bad policing. But when police are given the OK, time and time again to enter poor, mostly black/brown communities and litter homes with bullets in a supposed “war on drugs”, it is because they are trained to do so.

If the lives of people who are simply residents of their neighborhoods really mattered, police would be trained not to shoot so recklessly when it is known that everyday people live in these communities. What we see is that, security agents pursue dope dealers and and simply empty their heavy artillery weapons as if these áreas were simply locations for target practice. How else do we explain João Pedro’s father saying there were over 70 bullet holes in the home where his son was murdered? This many bullets being fired off says one thing: the lives of people living here don’t matter. They don’t enter upper crust neighborhoods such as Leblon and Copacabana in the same manner, so what type of people live there that the police won’t enter their neighborhoods with such wreckless abandon? The answer should be pretty obvious. They aren’t poor and the vast majority aren’t black.  

Make no mistake about this. Entering areas shooting such high caliber weapons, death if a human being is struck is almost certain. We now know that it was 5.56 caliber rifle that killed João Pedro, which is the same rifle caliber of police officers. The bullet entered through the boy’s body at the height of his stomach, punctured his lung and lodged in the scapula – a bone high up his back, near his shoulder. 

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Jõao Pedro’s father Neilton Mattos bids his son farewell at the boy’s funeral

Looking at the fotos from João Pedro Matos Pinto’s funeral were painful to see. The pain in seeing his tearful father, Neilton, hunched over his son’s casket pierced my heart for three little reasons that made me identify with his pain even more than how seeing the faces of Cláudia Ferreira da Silva’s grieving children back in 2014. Or 13-year old Igor Cordeiro Manhães, who was murdered by Military Police in Duque de Caxias, Rio de Janeiro. Unfortunately, there are too many other similar stories featured on this blog to name them all here, but these destructive actions that result in the breaking of so many families took on another meaning for me in mid 2015, when I became a father myself.

As if I even needed a reminder of this, a few days ago, my daughter unknowingly did something that made me feel João Pedro’s pain and appreciate the meaning of life even more intensely. On Sunday evening, my soon to be five-year old daughter was sitting quitely at my side watching a children’s cartoon film as I was gathering information on João Pedro’s funeral. On my computer screen, as I fixed my eyes on Neilton Mattos, João Pedro’s father screaming desperately over his son’s casket for the first time, at that very moment my daughter turned and kissed me on the cheek. In her world of children’s fantasy, she was totally disconnected from the scene of João Pedro’s funeral that left me transfixed for several seconds. At that moment all I could do was grab her in a strong embrace in a moment of thanks and appreciation mixed with the sadness of a pain that I can only hope I will never have to feel. Neilton Mattos isn’t so fortunate.

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Relatives and friends of João Pedro’s family carry his casket during funeral

Body of teenager killed in police operation in São Gonçalo is buried with calls for justice

Courtesy of Yahoo

The body of the teenager João Pedro Matos Pinto, 14, killed during an operation in the Complexo do Salgueiro, was buried on Tuesday afternoon, May 19th, at the São Miguel cemetery, in São Gonçalo, in the metropolitan region of Rio. Before the ceremony, friends and relatives carried out an act at the cemetery’s entrance calling for justice. João Pedro died after being shot in a joint action by the Civil and Federal police.

The act and the funeral were marked by great emotion among friends and family. João’s father, Neilton Mattos, needed to be supported by friends. At one point, he was seen leaning over his son’s coffin in sadly bidding his son farewell.

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João Pedro’s father is supported during his son’s funeral

One of the objectives of the operation that ended with the teenager’s death was to arrest drug dealer Ricardo Severo, aka Faustão, 41, accused of controlling drug trafficking in Salgueiro. According to information from the Civil Police, during the action, the criminal and about ten security guards ran into a street behind João Pedro’s house.

Three agents from the Special Resources Coordination (Core) arrived on the way and there was an intense confrontation. To escape, the criminals jumped the walls of several residences. In the escape, some passed inside the house where the teenager was, throwing grenades at the police. The agents fought back. In the exchange of fire, João Pedro was shot. He was taken by one of his cousins to the spot where Core’s helicopter had landed. The teenager was rescued by the aircraft.

Initially, João Pedro was taken to Core’s Aeropolicial Service (SAER) base, in Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, in the South Zone of Rio. From there, he would be taken to the Miguel Couto municipal hospital, in Gávea, but his death was confirmed by a fire brigade doctor at the time the helicopter landed. Next to SAER, there is a Fire Department unit, the Air Operations Group (GOA), so Core agents made contact with the military, who provided an ambulance in which João would be taken to Miguel Couto.

The Homicide Police Station in Niterói and São Gonçalo is investigating the circumstances in which João Pedro was shot. According to the unit’s chief, Allan Duarte, only Core police officers participated in the confrontation that ended with the teenager’s death. The weapons of three coordinating agents were seized for a possible ballistic examination. The pilot of the Core aircraft will be heard at the DH to give details about João’s rescue.

According to sources heard, the operation carried out in Complexo do Salgueiro was planned by the Federal Police, which had intelligence information on the gang. Core was called in to support the action.

x88187105_RI-Sao-Goncalo-RJ-19-05-2020-Sepultamento-do-jovem-Joao-Pedro-Mattos-Pinto-14-anos-vitima-d.jpg.pagespeed.ic.Twb1suCuiw
“Black Lives Matter” reads sign at João Pedro’s funeral

João Pedro’s father, Neilton Mattos, gave an emotional report to RJTV, of TV Globo, in the early afternoon of this Tuesday, at the door of 72nd DP (Mútua). Owner of a kiosk in Praia da Luz, near the place where everything happened, Neilton said he was working and that he heard the shots, but that he couldn’t imagine what was happening. More than once, he stated that his son’s dreams were interrupted by the police.

“I was very close, working with my sister-in-law, when we heard the noise of the helicopter hovering, very low. We were already worried about the children who were there (at home) playing. We wanted to go, but we were worried about the helicopter. So we decided to wait a while. Then, we decided to go, and when we got there, the Core and Federal (Police) policemen had the five teenagers sitting, like thugs, but they are not thugs, they are just teenagers, not drug dealers. They were there, in the quarantine, playing together, but I realized that a teenager was missing, my son, João Pedro,” said the father.

He said that he learned of his son’s death by his nephew, Natan, who, in tears, told him what had happened.

“When I arrived, I asked: where is João Pedro? And his cousin, Natan, crying, said that João Pedro had been shot, a 14-year old teenager. A young man with a bright future ahead of him, a young man who knew what he wanted for his future, in the 9th grade, already almost finishing his studies, wanting to be someone in life… but unfortunately the police interrupted my son’s dream,” he said with emotion in his voice.

Finally, Neilton also talked about how the police arrived at his residence. And he reiterated that the police killed João Pedro and interrupted the boy’s dreams.

“The police came there in such a cruel way, shooting, throwing a grenade, without even asking who it was. And I understand that if they knew my son’s nature, who my son was, they wouldn’t do that. Because my son is a student, my son is a servant of God. My son’s life was home, church, school and cell phone games. That was it. That’s what I was raising him for. But, unfortunately, they interrupted my son’s dream.

Aplausos - a última homenagem dos amigos e parentes a João Pedro
Applause: A last homage to João Pedro by friends and relatives of the victim whose life was taken by police bullets

João Pedro’s father sent a message to Governor Wilson Witzel:

“I want to say, Mr. Governor, that your police didn’t just kill a 14-year-old with dreams, with plans, wanting to be someone in life. Your police killed an entire family. They killed a father, a mother, killed a sister and, mainly, João Pedro. That is what your police did to my life,” he said.

On Twitter, Witzel mourned the teenager’s death. “I deeply regret the death of the teenager João Pedro. The operation of the Federal Police, which had the support of the Civil Police, needs to be investigated. We will investigate until the culprits are held accountable. My sentiments to the family. I am a father and I understand this pain,” wrote the governor of Rio.

another black male in heaven
“People, this is Jõão Pedro. Another one of us”

They killed one more of our children: death to racism!

By Márcia Guena *

I can’t hear you. I can’t look! Change the channel! I don’t want to see his face. It hurts too much. It hurts too much. I am a black mother of a 15 year old son. It hurts too much. I do not want to look at the angelic face of João Pedro Matos Pinto, 14, who was brutally murdered last Tuesday (19) by the police of Rio de Janeiro, at the Complexo do Salgueiro, in São Gonçalo, in Rio de Janeiro.

“Relatives and friends say that João Pedro Matos Pinto was playing with his cousins when drug dealers jumped over the wall to escape the agents, who came back shooting and hit the young man in the belly. The police, on the other hand, claim that the teenager was hit during a confrontation with these criminals,” reported Folha de São Paulo on the day of the incident, in the news that I only managed to read the next day, still not looking straight at the photo of the boy, João.

I created a strategy: not to let the pain take over me and continue the anti-racist struggle on a daily basis. But it is not working very well. Yesterday I cried convulsively. We cried, me, my mother and my son in the face of the profound, blunt, indescribable account of João’s parents, Neilton Pinto and Denise Roza. It is necessary to cry everything, to purge this ancestral and daily pain and in it, to recover strength.

x88187127_RI-Sao-Goncalo-RJ-19-05-2020-Sepultamento-do-jovem-Joao-Pedro-Mattos-Pinto-14-anos-vitima-d.jpg.pagespeed.ic.cm3nmWC-mc
João Pedro’s mother being consoled during his funeral

If it weren’t enough, the day after the murder of the boy João Pedro, another young man, also called João, was executed by the police in another Rio favela, Cidade de Deus! João Victor Gomes da Rocha, 18, was shot during the delivery of basic baskets from the Frente Cidade de Deus (CDD Front). “The guardian counselor and resident of Cidade de Deus, Jota Marques, said that the boy had left the house to go buy a kite”, according to news published by Revista Fórum (05/20) and those who tried to identify the body heard the following phrase from one of the policemen: “Whoever doesn’t want to be shot has to go out with a Bible in hand”, – as all newspapers published – mocking the lives of young black and poor people. Bodies and souls that mean nothing to the State!

The country has had a policy of racial cleansing for years. Security policy kill thousands of black youth every year, representing 75% of homicide victims. Statistics that increasingly become cold, without faces, without any anti-black death policies. Official figures produced by the State itself, which doesn’t move a straw to change the policy of intervention in the poorest areas of the cities, with a high concentration of black population. To the contrary: it accentuates the genocidal strategy of State intervention, making the necropolitics official. The death penalty exists in Brazil only for our black sons and daughters.

We fight for a policy in defense of our lives. And it is not for lack of data. According to the Atlas of Violence, organized by IPEA (Institute of Applied Economic Research) in conjunction with the National Public Security Forum, 65,600 violent deaths occurred in 2017, of which more than 75% victimized black people, with more than half corresponding to young people between 15 and 29 years old.

A survey carried out by the Abrinq Foundation, released in April 2019, showed that, in 20 years, the number of black youths murdered increased by 429%, compared to 102% of white youths.

The black population is 2.7 times more likely to be a victim of murder than whites, according to the newsletter Social Inequalities by Color or Race in Brazil, prepared by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE). Violence against white people remains stable while the homicide rate against blacks has increased in recent years.  Between 2012 and 2017 “there was an increase in the homicide rate per 100 thousand inhabitants of the preto (black) and pardo (brown) population, from 37.2 to 43.4. While for the white population, this indicator has remained constant over time, around 16.”(Newsroom, Exame, 2019). There were 255 thousand deaths of black people in that period.

“Among white youths aged 15 to 29, the rate was 34 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants in 2017, the last year with death data available on DataSus. Among pretos and pardos, there were 98.5 murders per 100 thousand inhabitants. If only men are considered, the homicide rate rises to 185. For young women, the rate was 5.2 for white women and 10.1 for preta and parda women” (Newsroom, Exame, 2019).

But we, blacks women and men, are not inert to these numbers. Thousands of us and social movements are alert, discussing and acting to change this condition. We don’t admit it anymore! The extermination carried out by poder branco (white power) will stop. That is the purpose of nossas vidas negras (our black lives).

Visceral hatred grips me. A convulsive cry, a scream:

DEATH TO RACISM !!!

* Journalist, master in integration in Latin America, PhD in History and professor in the Journalism course at the State University of Bahia (UNEB), Juazeiro campus (Ba).

Source: Revista Afirmativa, Yahoo

 

About Marques Travae 3474 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

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