AFRICANGLOBE – Two residents of Morro Dendê were killed in a Civil Police operation carried out on Tuesday morning, in the Ilha do Governador favela slums which was intended to seize slot machines and issue search and seizure warrants. Wanderson Jesus Martins, 23, and Gilson Costa, only 12-years-old, according to family members and residents, were killed by shots fired by police who were standing near an armored vehicle, after shots taken by a helicopter didn’t hit victims, that were mistaken for criminals. Residents also report the existence of a third death, however, the police have not confirmed this information.
To O Dia (news), Wanderson’s sister, Paola Jesus Aparecida de Melo, 16, told how the man, who was a fisherman and received an assinado carteira de trabalho (signed working papers) on the 4th as a porter, was killed.
“Wanderson was going to buy bread for his 4-year old son. Suddenly, a Civil (Police) helicopter came down. He and the minor were frightened and ran into a house that has a bakery. The police didn’t even ask if he was a worker. They came in shooting in cowardice. They executed my brother. It wasn’t a stray bullet, it was a homicide,” she said.
Student and resident of Morro do Dendê, Cristiane de Melo, 18, confirms the thesis of Wanderson’s sister. “They took several shots to all over the place. They shot at random. One of them hit the rear window of my father’s car that was parked. I couldn’t even leave the house I was so scared,” she said.
President of the Associação de Moradores do Morro do Dendê (neighborhood association), Fernando Nilton Alves, 40, described the operation as a “strategy error”. “With a helicopter, the Civil Police thought it could distinguish a criminal from a worker. There is no way to differentiate. It was a wrong operation of the Civil Police which resulted in the death of two people,” he said, unhappy.
Protests After Murders
After the deaths, about 50 residents descended from Morro do Dendê carrying bags and scattered trash in the entrance of the favela. One of the protesters was held in contempt and aggression on a Military Police soldier. He was taken to the 37th Precinct (Ilha do Governador). During the act, the protesters punched and kicked police and Civil Defense buses and cars. Some even threw stones into the air. Every time, they asked for “justice” and called the police killers.
A vehicle of the 4th Precinct (Praça da República) became surrounded by protesters and was struck with kicks, but the police did not react. Residents closed down Rua Tenente Cleto Campelo (street) in Cacuia, causing a large traffic jam. On the Cacuia Highway, some shop owners closed their doors. In the 37th Precinct door, there was reinforcement in policing with five cars, but no confrontations were recorded.
Around 2:30pm, the protesters closed Vistula Street, in front of the police station and some sat on the ground. Others covered their faces hoods. They carried signs with slogans like: ” Gilson Costa, morto enquanto saiu para comprar coentro” (Gilson Costa, killed while out buying cilantro) and “Justiça pelo Gilson e Vanderson” (Justice for Gilson and Vanderson). Most held hands and made a line in the local door asking for justice.
“My mother is better now, she’s already cried, settled down, the reality has set in. His girlfriend is in a state of shock. Wanderson’s son, 4, already knows that his father died. He’s with a neighbor of ours,” said a relative of the fisherman.
“They were friends and were in that bakery that operates in the yard of a house. Wanderson had gone to buy bread for his son to go to school. When the police helicopter began shooting, they hid inside a bathroom at the bakery, afraid. The police, who were on foot, sent they come out of the bakery. Once Wanderson came out, the police shot at him. They shot him in the leg first in the leg and then in the stomach,” he reported.
Lt. Col. Wagner Nunes, commander of the 17th BPM (Ilha) explained how the demonstration began and explained that although the Military Police were present, the operation that resulted in the death of two people was carried out by the Civil Police.
“The protest began within the Palm community in Dendê, on Rua Graná (street), where locals managed to set fire to some objects like chairs. After, the action was controlled by the MP, they resumed the protest. Unfortunately, during the demonstration, some people threw stones. The MP only set the stage for the operation of the Civil Police, in Dendê, that resulted in two dead. It was just support,” he said.
In a statement, the Civil Police said the operation, dubbed Black Machine III occurred in the communities of Dendêm, Barbante, Bancários and Boogie Woogie, among other locations in the Ilha do Governador area. Four police officers participating in the operation, which was supported by agents of the Coordenadoria de Recursos Especiais (CORE or Coordination of Special Resources) and units of the Departamento Geral de Polícia Especializada (DGPE or General Department of Specialized Police), and Military Police.
By: Diego Valdevino, Luarlindo Ernesto And Tiago Frederico