By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Following the shooting and death of a seventeen-year-old in the Rio de Janeiro favela community of Morro da Providência early on Tuesday, September 29th, a secretly recorded video of the incident went viral. Showing what appeared to be misconduct by the Military Police, the video stirred outrage on social media and spurred protests, leading to the arrest of officers involved. Charged with procedural fraud, the officers are now under investigation for murder.
Recorded by residents of Morro da Providência from a window near the incident, the graphic video showed a group of five men, allegedly the Military Police officers, surrounding a body lying in pool of blood on the ground. One man appears to fire a gun in the air and later another man moves the body, placing the gun in the victim’s hand.
Officers had claimed that the death occurred following a confrontation with the seventeen-year-old victim, Eduardo Felipe Santos Victor, whom, they said, they had been trailing on suspicion of drug trafficking.
The Pacifying Police Unit (UPP) command of Providência originally stated that while patrolling an area known as Pedra Lisa, officers were confronted by armed criminals who proceeded to open fire. This led to a confrontation, during which Victor, one of the alleged criminals, was shot and later succumbed to his injuries. Initially following the confrontation, police reported that they seized a nine millimeter caliber pistol, ammunition, and a radio transmitter from Victor’s body.
Outrage followed the release of the video on social networks and protests were reported in surrounding areas.
The officers involved were then arrested on charges of procedural fraud and were taken first to the main DP/Praça da República (Police Station) and then to the eighth Delegacia Policial de Justiça Militar/DPJM, (the 8th Police Station of Military Justice).
“The video shows a blatant fraud perpetrated by the police. It will be investigated together with the possibility of murder,” said Rivaldo Barbosa, a delegate for the Homicide Division. “We will not rule out the possibility of fraud used to hide an execution. This is our line of investigation.”
The funeral for Eduardo Felipe Santos Victor will take place today, Wednesday, September 30th at 1PM at the São João Batista Cemetery, in Botafogo.