“I Am Death”: No Proof

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A nationwide phenomenon: “The Le Cocq was accused of 30 political murders in 18 years, on top of the nearly 1,500 murders a year that transformed Espirito Santo into the second most violent state in Brazil. It was created in Rio in 1965 by police who wanted to avenge the death of Detective Milton Le Cocq. Horseface, the bandit who killed Le Cocq, was killed with more than 100 gunshots and his body covered with a poster depicting a skull.A legislative probe of the drug traffic pointed to six Espirito Santo state police officials and 24 policemen as members of organized crime. All of them belonged to the Scuderie Le Cocq … the members of the Scuderie Le Cocq created a campaign financing scheme for mayors, legislators and aldermen. When these candidates took office, the Scuderie would show up to demand a bribe in the form of fraudulent public contracts.”

Accused of murder and belonging to a death squad in Osasco, Pvt. Natanael Viana, 38, was taken into preventive custody by judicial order. He had been accused by the police ombudsman in 2001 of alleged involvement in another death squad, but the case was archived and Viana returned to active duty. “To this day there is no proof he killed anyone. In 2001, the process was the same: a charge that generated an exhaustive search for evidence that was never found,” said the colonel.

São Paulo’s Secretaria da Segurança Pública issues a press release on a press conference yesterday regarding steps taken in the case of military policemen suspected of death-squad activities.

A follow-up to

O coronel Roberto Antonio Diniz, Comandante Geral da Polícia Militar, informou, em entrevista coletiva concedida na tarde desta segunda-feira (24), na sede da corporação, que 121 PMs que tiveram uma conduta irregular já foram expulsos ou demitidos da corporação neste ano. “Temos 90 mil policiais no Estado, que realizam um milhão e 500 mil intervenções por mês. É de se esperar que haja alguns desvios, mas fazemos o possível para evitá-los”, disse o coronel.

Col. Diniz, state military police commandant, reported yesterday in a press conference at PM headquarters that 121 troopers found to have engaged in misconduct have been expelled or fired from the force this year. “We have 90,000 policemen in the state, involved in 1.5 million actions per month. It is only to be expected that some misconduct will occur, but we do what we can to avoid it,” the colonel said.

Sobre o envolvimento de PMs com grupos de extermínio, o coronel declarou que “a PM tem uma filosofia bem clara, que está fundamentada no respeito à vida e à integridade das pessoas. Nós jamais estaríamos de acordo com esse tipo de atuação”, declarou. Segundo o coronel, pelas investigações realizadas até hoje não foi constatada a atuação desses grupos dentro da corporação.

Regarding the involvement of troopers in death squads, the colonel stated that “the state PM has a clear philosophy, based on respect for life and the physical integrity of persons. We would never agree with that sort of conduct,” he said. According to the colonel, investigations realized to date have not turned up any such groups acting inside the force.

Headline in A Tarde (Salvador, Bahia, Brazil) today:

The verb constatar means:

Comprobar un hecho, establecer su veracidade

To prove a fact, establish its veracity.

Para que isso não aconteça, o coronel Diniz explica que a polícia tem um rigoroso processo de seleção, além de uma investigação social realizada para conhecer a vida de cada candidato. “E temos ainda a participação da comunidade e da própria imprensa, que nos trazem as denúncias. Não existe uma denúncia que não seja alvo de investigação”, afirmou.

For this not to happen, Diniz explains that the police have a rigorous selection process, as well as a background check into the social history of each candidate. “And we rely on the contribution of society and even the press, which bring us charges. There is no charge that is not targeted for investigation,” he stated.

O Comandante Geral explicou que as últimas denúncias envolvendo PMs que teriam praticado homicídios ainda serão investigadas e, caso comprovadas, irão resultar na mesma punição.

The commandant explained that the latest charges involving PMs who may have committed murders will be investigated and, if the charges are proven, will result in punishment.

Chacinas

Massacres

Em relação as denúncias sobre policiais envolvidos com assassinatos em Osasco, na Grande São Paulo, o coronel afirmou que dois já foram afastados e mais 19 devem ser recolhidos administrativamente enquanto ocorrem as investigações. “Temos algumas indicações que foram feitas por um informante que está foragido, e todos esses 19 nomes serão afastados enquanto durarem as investigações, a partir de hoje”, afirmou Diniz.

With respect to charges that police were involved in assassinations in Osasco, Greater São Paulo, the colonel said that two have been relieved of duty and another 19 administratively confined while investigations continue. “We have some indications from an informant who is now a fugitive, and all those 19 names were suspended during investigations, effective today,” Diniz said.

A Major Fernandes Tavares of internal affairs, calling for “a cautious approach” to the charges on September 21, noted that the informant “also has an outstanding warrant for his arrest.”

One of the troopers in the case dropped his cell phone at the scene of another multiple homicide. Guys in ski masks blasting away in general. That sort of thing.

Já sobre a maior chacina do ano, em que oito pessoas foram assassinadas em Ribeirão Pires, também na Grande São Paulo, quatro PMs já estão fora de serviço. “Desde o início tivemos indícios de participação dos policiais militares, que foram recolhidos imediatamente. Ainda não temos as provas contra eles, mas as investigações continuam e estamos procurando testemunhas oculares para fazer o reconhecimento”, contou. Os outros dois apontados em reconhecimentos provisórios, por meio de fotografias, já estão recolhidos prestando serviços administrativos.

In the case largest massacre of the year, in which eight persons were killed in Ribeirão Pires, four PMs have been relieved of duty. “From the beginning we have had indications of involvement by troopers, who were immediately taken off active duty.
 We still have no conclusive evidence against them, but investigations continue and we are looking for eyewitnesses to identify them in a lineup,” he said. Another two, recognized in a provisional lineup using photos, have been reassigned to administrative duties.

A Tarde passes along further comments from the press conference, as reported by the Estado de S. Paulo‘s news agency.

Acusado de assassinato e de pertencer a um grupo de extermínio em Osasco, o soldado Natanael Viana, de 38 anos, foi preso preventivamente na quinta-feira por ordem judicial. Ele já havia sido acusado à Ouvidoria da Polícia em 2001, por suposta participação em um outro grupo de extermínio, mas o caso foi arquivado e Viana voltou à ativa.

Accused of murder and belonging to a death squad in Osasco, Pvt. Natanael Viana, 38, was taken into preventive custody by judicial order. He had been accused by the police ombudsman in 2001 of alleged involvement in another death squad, but the case was archived and Viana returned to active duty.

“Até hoje não há prova de que ele tenha matado alguém. Em 2001, o processo foi o mesmo, de uma denúncia que exaustivamente se buscou provas e não se conseguiu essa prova”, disse o coronel, que não descartou um novo retorno do policial. “Se não for comprovado nada, não podemos expulsá-lo da polícia”, disse, destacando que foram iniciativa da Corregedoria da PM o pedido da prisão preventiva de dois irmãos, um policial do 18º Batalhão (Freguesia do Ó) e outro do 30º (Ribeirão Pires), e a punição administrativa para os demais PMs suspeitos.

“To this day there is no proof he killed anyone. In 2001, the process was the same: a charge that generated an exhaustive search for evidence that was never found,” said the colonel, who did not rule out the return of the policeman to active duty once again.

And yet if investigations continue, how can the colonel conclude that the exhaustive search will prove fruitless in this case as well?

I don’t think I am just splitting hairs here, either.

A certain negative dialectics of criminal investigation is often associated with the kind of Gricean conversational implicature observed here: “The exhaustive search for conclusive evidence will fail.”

And that’s a (Gricean indirect) promise.

Stay tuned.

But don’t get your hopes up.

The human rights and public safety committee of the state assembly, presided over by Vanderlei Siraque, held hearings on the case on September 19.

Siraque questioned the efficacy of the military police self-governance in such cases.

Marzagão, the state public security secretary, has been refusing to comment publicly on the case.

“If nothing is proven, we cannot remove him from the force,” the colonel said, emphasizing that it was an initiative by the PM internal affairs division that led to the preventive custody of two brothers, one from the 18th Battalion and another from the 30th, and the administration punishment of the other suspected troopers.

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