A video showing military police in Brazil apparently tampering with a crime scene after shooting a teenager has called attention to the police practice of concealing extrajudicial killings by pretending their victims were violently resisting arrest.
The cell phone footage, which was taken by local residents, shows police placing a gun in the hands of a 17-year-old who is sprawled on the floor in a pool of blood and then firing into the air. Afterwards, the officers make no effort to help the boy, who appeared to still be alive. (See video below)
The officers then reported that the boy, Eduardo Felipe Santos Victor, was killed in a confrontation after they had come under fire during a routine patrol.
One local who claimed to have witnessed the scene told local TV that Santos was armed but had surrendered to the police without using his weapon before he was shot at close range.
The five officers involved have now been arrested. However, locals from the favela where the shooting took place have claimed that police have been intimidating the witness that shot the footage, reported O Globo.
The killing has sparked social unrest, with protests turning violent as angry locals destroyed buses, reported Estadao.
InSight Crime Analysis
The new footage is just the latest in a long line of incriminating videos that have exposed how Brazilian police frequently execute suspects, especially during operations in the favelas of Rio de Janiero.
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The most common method to cover up these extrajudicial killings is by claiming that the victims were committing “acts of resistance,” thereby justifying the use of force. While police undoubtedly do come under fire from criminal gangs at times, as the latest video shows, this is often just an easy excuse to conceal a dark truth: many Brazilian police believe murder — not justice — is the solution to the country’s security problems.
Despite the mounting evidence, killings by police continue to rise. Figures from the Rio de Janeiro state Public Security Institute (IPS) published by O Globo show that in the first eight months of 2015, police killed 227 people in the city of Rio and 459 statewide. This represents a 30 percent and 18 percent rise, respectively, from the same period in 2014. According to the figures, police have been responsible for more than 20 percent of all killings in Rio so far this year.