‘Brazil is an extermination camp’: Anger after videos show man dying while police trap him in boot of their car | World News

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Videos showing a Brazilian man dying while trapped in the boot of a police car have sparked anger and protests in Brazil.

The footage shows a handcuffed Genivaldo de Jesus Santos being bundled into the boot before officers released a gas canister inside and leaned on the door.

They kept Mr Santos trapped inside as clouds of gas escaped from the vehicle.

After a short time, he stopped screaming and his legs – which had been hanging out from underneath the door – were motionless.

Mr Santos’s wife, Maria Fabiana dos Santos, told news service Globo.com: “I don’t even call it fatality.

“That was really a crime – they acted with cruelty to kill him.”

The videos have sparked protests, with people blocking roads, setting tyres on fire, and holding signs calling for justice.

Mr Santos, 38, suffered from schizophrenia, according to his family, and he had been approached by police while riding his motorbike through the town of Umbaúba, in the northeastern state of Sergipe.

He became nervous when the officers found his medicine in his pocket, one of his nephews told Globo.com.

‘Police officers turned a car into gas chamber’

Wallyson de Jesus said: “They threw some kind of gas inside the trunk and went to the police station, but my uncle was unconscious.

“They took him to the hospital but it was already too late.”

According to the Brazilian Forum of Public Security, police killed 6,416 people in Brazil in 2020 – almost 80% of them were black.

Renata Souza, a black activist and politician from Rio de Janeiro, wrote on Twitter: “Police officers turned a car into a gas chamber and executed a mentally ill man.

“There are no words in the face of such inhumanity. Brazil is an extermination camp.”

Douglas Belchior, a member of the Coalition for Black Rights, wrote on Twitter: “These two pieces of vermin know they are being filmed and yet they still applied a death sentence.

“There is no more decency or embarrassment.

“They tortured and executed the guy.”

Police investigation into officers’ conduct

Brazil’s Federal Highway Police said Mr Santos was arrested because he resisted police, adding that he had been “aggressive” and was restrained by “immobilisation techniques and instruments of less offensive potential”.

The statement said that Mr Santos had become ill while being taken to the police station and died later in hospital.

It did not mention the two police officers filmed trapping Mr Santos in the boot of the car, but it confirmed an investigation has been launched into their conduct.

Reuters news agency reported that an autopsy found Mr Santos had died from mechanical asphyxia.

The report said: “This obstruction can occur through several factors and at the first moment it was not possible to establish the immediate cause of the asphyxia nor how it occurred.”

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