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Friday, July 17, 2009

Brazil: Police Kill Mentally Ill Man

Three police officers in Belem, the capital of the northern Brazilian state of Para, shot and killed a mentally ill man after mistaking the radio he was carrying for a weapon, the press reported Thursday.

Eyewitnesses told the daily O Globo that the 37-year-old victim, whose family said was a schizophrenic, was walking down the street when he was stopped by three officers, who tried to cover up what happened as soon as they realized their mistake.

“Two witnesses said the victim was not armed and that the officers had thought that he was trying to pull out a revolver when his hand went to his waist,” Belem police commissioner Fernando Silva told O Globo.

A man who witnessed the incident said the victim put up his hands when ordered to do so by the officers and later tried to pull up his shirt to show he was not armed.

The man tried to run and show he was unarmed after being shot in the chest, but the officers then shot him again with a rifle, the eyewitness said.

The officers, who said they opened fire because the man pulled out a weapon, have not been arrested and remain on duty, but they have been transferred to another neighborhood.

“If some excess or lack of control is proven, the Disciplinary Council could move to dismiss the officers from the department,” internal affairs unit spokesman Lt. Helio Basbas said.

link: Latin American Herald Tribune - Brazilian Police Kill Mentally Ill Man


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