Relatives, friends of slain youth stage a protest in front of a shopping mall.
by Tássia Correia, Maíra Côrtes and Gatas Negras
On Friday, March 2nd, yet another tragedy involving a black teenager happened in Salvador, Bahia. On this night at about 10:30pm, 17-year old Tarsis Lima Santos was shot near the Salvador Shopping (Mall) and taken to the Roberto Santos General Hospital by his mother where succumbed to the injuries he had sustained.
According to the civil police, two unidentified men fired several shots toward the teen, who was on a walkway next to the mall. There had been suspicion that some youngsters had organized a series of robberies and thefts in the region, which caused confusion and mayhem, after which the shooting occurred. At the time of the shooting, Tarsis was with a group of friends across the bridge and was hit by mistake.
Witnesses said the gunmen were security guards or police officers working undercover on the catwalks that provide an entrance to the mall, and trying to avoid an assault. This information has not been confirmed. After the crime, the gunmen fled the scene without providing aid to the victim.
The press office of Salvador Shopping released a press release denying any involvement of its employees in the case as their security guards don’t use weapons. “At around 22:30, the mall had learned through bystanders that a firearm had been shot near the neighborhood of Pernambués. The police were present at the site, and took appropriate action”, the note concluded.
The crime scene is usually a meeting place for boys and girls from the outskirts of Salvador, before and after walks through malls in the region. The investigation into the death of Tarsis Santos is the responsibility of the Departamento de Homicídios e Proteção à Pessoa (DHPP – Department of Homicides and Protection of Persons).
Salvador Shopping, site of the murder
The following day (March 3rd), about one hundred people, including relatives, friends and neighbors of Lima protested in front of the mall. The group blocked the main entrance of the mall, asking for justice. Because of the protests, the access roads to the region, like Parallel and Antonio Carlos Magalhães avenues were held up during the afternoon, according to a report.
Members of Lima’s family reported that the boy had nothing to do with the crime, and only used the entrance, accompanied by relatives, on the way to a party when the two men wearing black shirts and jeans shot at him. Also according to the relatives of the youth, the men said that they had confused the young man with someone else.
Details surrounding this case remain sketchy as the mall is washing its hands of the case although it seems to be agreed that police were on the scene of the crime. While the case continues to develop, one thing is certain: another Afro-Brazilian youth has been murdered under suspicious circumstances possibly involving the police and a case of mistaken identity. As I have written in a previous report, the alarming rates of murder of black youth in Brazil in general and specifically in Salvador, Bahia, are such that they could be labeled genocide. Let’s hope that the family of this young man is able to attain some level of justice for their loss, but for some reason, maybe due to an obvious lack of value placed on the lives of black youth, I am not to optimistic about this case.
Previous article: Devassa Beer ordered to change its racist ad depicting black women’s sexuality
Source: Black Women of Brazil