Letter to the Editor, by Chuck Cassie
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Last Friday night my friend Ryan and I walked a mutual friend home. She lives in Cantagalo and it was very late (4:30 AM). On the way back we decided to take a shortcut home and came across two guys that stopped us and said they were bandits. They told us to give them money and so we tried to just run, but they chased us and attacked us so we fought them.
We were quite drunk so not in top fighting form, but we managed to injure them. I broke one guys finger and threw him down a flight of stairs in order to try to facilitate our escape, but then they grabbed some large rocks and started throwing them at us while yelling for reinforcements (I believe they yelled “Wolverines!”).
One rock hit me square in the eye and within a few seconds there were three or four more guys (now five or six total) beating on us. I yelled for them to stop and said we would leave. They escorted us “out of their territory” while taking some of our things – my money, Ryan’s iPhone, and both our watches. End result was a fractured vertebrae, broken nose, sprained ankle, very black eye and about eight stitches for three cuts on my face, and Ryan fractured his leg and got fifteen stitches for a cut above his eye.
We hobbled to the police station first in order to inform them as soon as possible and tell them where the bandits were located – we could tend to our injuries later. The police REFUSED to let us file a report before we went to the hospital!
The police officer said “come back some other day and file it.” There was a Brazilian civilian in the police station filing his own report at the time for something minor, who told the officer to let us file our report first and he could finish his report later, but the officer still refused to let us file a report before we went to the hospital.
The Brazilian got quite angry at the uselessness of the police and started yelling at the officer. He started yelling all the things I wanted to yell at him, which made me feel better that a Brazilian was doing it instead of me (a foreigner). So we ended up going to the hospital on our own, with no police escort to take our statements. We spent the whole day at the hospital and no police ever showed up to talk to us.
I am writing this to inform people of some things I think they should be aware: 1) There is a gang robbing people in lower Cantagalo, just west of where Rua Criança Esperança hits Rua Saint Roman; and 2) The police seem to have become flagrantly useless and don’t even try to hide it anymore.
I would also like to add at this point that I think everyone has a moral responsibility to support what they believe in and to not support what they don’t believe in, meaning if you find yourself getting robbed then I think you have a duty to fight back. If we let the thieves rob from us easily then it will only reinforce the idea that robbing people is easy and they will continue to do it, as well as tell their friends who may start robbing people as well.
If we fight back then they will bear their own injuries from the encounters and maybe they might start thinking of a new career path. I completely accept that I got injured fighting for something I believe in and I would not change anything about my reaction to the situation.
Maybe just a broken finger and whatever injuries the guy sustained when I threw him down the stairs might not be enough to dissuade him from robbing others, but if it were to happen every time he tries robbing someone then maybe it would.
Chuck Cassie, B. Eng.