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Who was Genivaldo de Jesus Santos? Black man's death by asphyxiation in Brazilian police car sparks outrage online

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Who was Genivaldo de Jesus Santos? Black man's death by asphyxiation in Brazilian police car sparks outrage online

Genivaldo de Jesus Santos, a 38-year-old black man, died of asphyxiation after being forced into the back of a smoke-filled police SUV. The white smoke that appeared from the car was reported to be tear gas. A video of the incident has gone viral and attracted a lot of criticism from Brazilians.

In the video, Santos can be heard screaming and his legs, which stick out of the SUV, kick vehemently and eventually stop moving. The accused in this case are two officers from Brazil's Federal Highway Police, who seem unfazed by the onlookers surrounding them.

The manner in which Genivaldo de Jesus Santos died sent social media into a frenzy. People took to the streets to protest against police brutality.

Videos of the protest were widely shared on different media platforms. In one, a man can be heard saying,

"The population is outraged."

While another addressing the crowd through a loudspeaker said,

"They murdered the guy!"

People gathered in Umbauba and blocked a road and burned tires expressing their aggression in this matter.

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Defending their actions, the Federal Highway Police released a statement that said Genivaldo de Jesus Santos displayed aggressive behavior and was "actively resisting" arrest. It then mentioned that the officers used "instruments of lesser offensive potential" to contain him.

Genivaldo de Jesus Santos gone up in smoke

A preliminary autopsy conducted on Genivaldo de Jesus Santos revealed that he died of respiratory failure due to "mechanical asphyxia," George Fernandes, a spokesperson for Sergipe state's Forensic Institute, told The Associated Press.

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The Federal Police has opened an investigation into this matter and asked the forensic institute to submit a more in-depth report within 10 days. As of Thursday evening, five officers involved in the incident were placed on leave pending an investigation.

Police in Brazil arrested a black man, said black man resisted arrest, apparently due to confusion and a mental illness. The policemen then threw him in the trunk of their car and >>improvised a gas chamber on their trunk<<, killing the man

Honestly this country is at its

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Meanwhile, reacting to the news, President Jair Bolsonaro stated that he would find out what happened from the Federal Highway Police. Bolsonaro then mentioned a separate incident two weeks ago where a man shot two on-duty highway officers.

Relatives and people cry foul play by police

Alisson de Jesus, nephew of Genivaldo de Jesus Santos, told a local news outlet that his uncle told the officers he had medication and a prescription in his pocket for his mental health condition. The nephew described what happened to his uncle as "a torture session." He said,

"They took my uncle, put him inside the vehicle, took a gas bomb and closed the trunk with him inside."

The nephew said that his uncle Genivaldo de Jesus Santos was hit and shoved by the officers before being forced into the police SUV.

Meanwhile, the reaction from the crowd was also not in support of the cops. Local politician and human rights activist Renata Souza took to Twitter to express her thoughts. She said,

"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!"

The Brazilian Public Security Forum, an independent group, said in a statement,

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Although the footage of this was widely shared, there appear to be a lot of gaps and edits in the clips. This causes a lack of clarity into what happened.

In another clip, officers are seen using the car's trunk to pin down Santos' legs while the vehicle filled up with white smoke. In yet another one, police officers are seen holding the man's legs down while the gas dissipates, and after about a minute and a half, his legs stop moving.

As per the cops, Santos "fell ill" on his way to the station and later died in the hospital.

The incident comes just days after officers from the highway police took part in an operation in Rio de Janeiro that caused the deaths of more than 20 people. Police said they were left with no choice but to resort to lethal force. However, statements from residents published in local media have raised doubts about.

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