“I Am Death”: 20 Police Probed in São Paulo Death Squad Case

Osasco city hall

Nearly 20 troopers of the Tactical Force (a group specializing in armed confrontations) of the 14th and 42nd military police battalions — troopers, sergeants and a corporal — are being investigated by PM internal affairs and the state police on suspicion of being members of the group, which calls itself “I am death,” and whose members operate wearing hoods.

According to the investigations, the military police suspected of being part of the gang would arrive early at the scene of the crime and cover up the evidence to guarantee the impunity of the assassins. Many times, they themselves carried out the murders. —Pernambuco.com, May 25, 2007

20 PMs são suspeitos de integrar grupo de extermínio em Osasco: São Paulo’s other metro daily, the Folha de S. Paulo, is also looking into police violence these days as a tie-in with the debut of a blockbuster movie on the subject.

See also

Mais de 30 pessoas foram assassinadas desde meados do ano passado em circunstâncias que apontam a ação de um grupo de extermínio formado por policiais militares em Osasco (Grande São Paulo).

More than 30 persons have been murdered since mid-2006 in circumstances that suggest the presence of a death squad made up of military policemen in Osasco, Greater São Paulo.

Um PM foi preso ontem e um informante da polícia, acusado de sugerir algumas vítimas e de levantar informações sobre outras, também teve a prisão decretada, mas está foragido.

A military policeman was arrested yesterday, and a police informant accused of suggesting victims to the group and gathering information on others, also had a warrant issued for his arrest, but remains at large.

Cerca de 20 policiais da Força Tática (grupo especializado em confrontos) do 14º e do 42º Batalhões da Polícia Militar –entre soldados, sargentos e um cabo- são investigados pela Corregedoria da PM e pela Polícia Civil sob a suspeita de participar do grupo, que se intitula “Eu sou a morte” e cujos integrantes agem encapuzados.

Nearly 20 troopers of the Tactical Force (a group specializing in armed confrontations) of the 14th and 42nd military police battalions — troopers, sergeants and a corporal — are being investigated by PM internal affairs and the state police on suspicion of being members of the group, which calls itself “I am death,” and whose members operate wearing hoods.

No primeiro semestre deste ano, período de maior concentração de ações do grupo de extermínio, o número de homicídios dolosos dobrou em Osasco: foram 65 casos, contra 33 no mesmo período de 2006.

In the first quarter of this year, a time when death squads have been most active, homicide doubled in Osasco, from 33 in 1Q06 to 65.

A lista das vítimas do grupo de extermínio teria mais de 40 nomes, boa parte com antecedentes criminais, segundo testemunhas que afirmam ter ouvido ameaças dos próprios PMs. O objetivo seria matar supostos criminosos.

The death squad’s list of victims has more than 40 names, many with criminal histories, according to witnesses who say they overheard police making threats. The objective was to kill alleged criminals.

Mas pessoas sem passagem pela polícia e moradores mortos por engano também estariam entre as vítimas do grupo.

But victims also included people without police records and residents killed by mistake.

O soldado da PM Natanael Viana de Freitas e o informante José Ednaldo dos Santos, o Gaguinho, tiveram a prisão temporária decretada por 30 dias. Eles são suspeitos de participar do assassinato do motoboy Ricardo Pereira de Oliveira, 23, em julho passado.

PM trooper Natanael Viana de Freitas and informant José Ednaldo “The Stutterer” dos Santos, were ordered detained for 30 days. They are suspected in the slaying of motocycle deliveryman Ricardo Pereira de Oliveira, 23, last July.

Freitas foi reconhecido por uma testemunha como um dos dois homens que estavam na moto que abordou Oliveira. O motoboy levou nove tiros.

Freitas was recognized by a witness as one of two men who were aboard the motorcycle that approached Oliveira, who was shot nine times.

Ouvido na Corregedoria da PM e na Polícia Civil, antes de ser decretada a sua prisão, Gaguinho confirmou ter passado dados sobre a vítima aos PMs do grupo. Depois disso, não foi mais localizado.

“The Stutterer” told PM internal affairs and the state police, before a warrant was issued for his arrest, that he had passed information on the victim to police troopers in the group. After making this statement, he disappeared.

O motoboy, que não tinha antecedentes criminais, foi morto por engano, segundo a investigação. Foi apurado que ele emprestou o carro para um amigo, que passou com o veículo no local onde um PM matou um suposto assaltante. O carro foi fotografado, e o dono do veículo passou a ser procurado pelo grupo, segundo Gaguinho.

The “motoboy,” who had no criminal record, was killed by mistake, according to investigators. He had lent his car to a friend, who drove passed a location at which a PM had killed an alleged armed robber. The car was photographed, and its owner came to be sought by the group, according to “The Stutterer.”

Em outro caso, o celular de um PM foi encontrado no local onde três homens foram baleados, mas sobreviveram.

In another case, a trooper’s cell phone was found at the location where three men were shot, but survived.

Na memória do celular do informante foram encontrados os telefones de cerca de 40 PMs -os nomes eram antecedidos por abreviaturas das patentes.

In the memory of the informant’s cell phone were found the numbers of nearly 40 police troopers — their names preceded by abbreviations of their ranks.

Gaguinho citou como participantes do grupo 11 soldados, três sargentos e um cabo. Segundo ele, o grupo se formou para fazer uma “limpeza” na região quando dois soldados tiveram as motos furtadas.

The informant also cited 11 PMs as members of the group: 11 troopers, three sergeants and a corporal. He says the group was formed to “clean up the area” after two troopers had their motorcycles stolen.

Mas as mortes suspeitas começaram em maio de 2006, na reação policial aos ataques da facção criminosa PCC (Primeiro Comando da Capital).

But the suspicious deaths began in May 2006 during the police response to attacks by the PCC.

Além da morte do motoboy, mais de 20 outros casos na região apresentam indícios de ação de grupo de extermínio.

Besides the death of the motoboy, more than 20 other cases in the area show signs that they were the work of death squads.

A Folha reuniu dados sobre as circunstâncias de 11 casos -com 14 mortos e seis feridos. Em todas, as características das ações se assemelham:

The Folha gathered data on the circumstances surrounding 11 cases, involving 14 deaths and 6 wounded. All these cases presented similar characteristics.

1) Os tiros são de pistolas.40 e 9 mm (de uso exclusivo da força policial);

1. Shots fired from .40 [sic] and 9mm pistols (reserved for police use)

2) os ataques são feitos por homens que cobrem as placas com plástico (esse cuidado não é comum em acerto de contas entre bandidos);

2. Attacks conducted by men who cover their license plates with plastic (not a common practice in settlings of scores among criminals)

3) testemunhas falam que, em alguns casos, os ataques ocorreram depois da passagem de carros da Força Tática (a suspeita é que os PMs dariam o sinal para os matadores);

4. Witnesses say that in some cases the attacks occurred after Tactical Force cars passed by (it is suspected the troopers signalled the killers)

4) testemunhas afirmam que policiais chegaram ao local minutos depois do crime e recolheram cápsulas (para impedir o confronto balístico).

4. Witnesses say police arrived at the location minutes after the crime and picked up the “brass” [empty cartridges] (to prevent ballistics testing)

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