“Just Beat Him Until He Dies”: More Clips for Harvey Weinstein’s Publicist To Cut and Paste

O interrogatório é muito fácil de fazer
pega o favelado e dá porrada até doer
O interrogatório é muito fácil de acabar
pega o bandido e dá porrada até matar

That BOPE training chant was the subject of an O Globo article in September 2003 that is no longer available in the Web archives of the Rio daily.

Translation: “Interrogations are very easy to do: Just grab the shantytown dweller and beat him until it hurts. Interrogations are very easy to finish off: Just grab the bandit and beat him until he dies.”

Another one

Bandido favelado
não se varre com vassoura
se varre com granada,
com fuzil, metralhadora?.

“You don’t sweep up shantytown bandits with a broom: You sweep them up with hand grenades, assault rifles and machine guns.”

The debate over the forthcoming Miramax-Paramount release on the cops of Rio SWAT continues. We translate this and that for Harvey Weinstein’s publicists to clip.

Item: Por que a polícia está tão desacreditada? >> Os PMs estão desacreditados ou desafortunados?

The Jornal de Debates (iG, Brazil), for example, this week features five responses to the question “Why is the credibility of the Brazilian police so low?” Asks Bruna Abs, more or less: “Are the police really discredited, or are they victims in this scenario?” The piece provides with a flashback to my days of grading hundreds and thousands of student papers — with pleasure, mind you, and more power to the young inquiring mind, anyway.

Com o filme “Tropa de Elite”, a polêmica de corrupção na polícia vem à tona novamente. O filme aborda o tema e traça um paralelo entre atitude de policiais militares convencionais e os do BOPE (Batalhão de Operações Especiais). Os convencionais são apresentados como facilmente corrompidos, mas sempre alegando o baixo salário como causa. Alguns aparecem gerenciando casas de prostituição e outros negócios ilícitos. Os do BOPE aparecem como os justiceiros, aqueles que vão consertar os erros dos primeiros.

With the arrival of the movie [“The Trooper Elite”], the controversy over police corruption is surfacing once again. The film deals with the subject and implies a comparison between conventional military police and the troopers of the Special Operations Battalion. Conventional PMs are shown as easily corruptible, but always alleging their low salary as the cause.

See also

Some are shown running houses of prostitution and other illicit businesses. BOPE troopers, meanwhile, are portrayed as vigilantes who come along to repair the errors of the conventional troopers.

On which controversial slant to the narrative, see also

On cops and hookers in the Zona Sul, there is a rich vein of recent newsflow:

Nunca fui abordada por um policial do BOPE, logo não posso afirmar nada. Mas uma vez, voltando de bicicleta com um amigo de Copacabana à meia-noite, dois policiais convencionais nos abordaram, pois acharam estranho uma moça andando de bicicleta tão tarde. Há problema nisso? Como isso nunca tinha me acontecido, fiquei muito nervosa; e quando um deles pediu para revistar minha bolsa, abri imediatamente tremendo. Eles remexeram em algumas coisas, leram até um bilhete meu. Não encontraram nada de errado, e então nos dispensaram. Um deles chamou meu amigo de “abusadinho”, que, vendo minha tensão, começou a argumentar que achava um absurdo a abordagem. Mas a discussão é: a polícia está desacreditada?

I have never been stopped by a BOPE trooper, so I cannot speak to that issue. But once, riding home from Copacabana on my bicycle with a friend at midnight, two conventional PMs stopped us, finding it odd that a young woman would be out riding her bicycle so late. Is there a problem with that? As I had never been stoppped before, I was very nervous; and when one of them asked to search my purse, I opened it up immediately, trembling. They stirred the contents around a bit and even read a note of mine. They did not find anything amiss, so they let us go. One of them mocked my male friend as a “poor little guy” after he, seeing how nervous I was, starting arguing that the stop and search was absurd. But the subject here is: Do the police lack credibility?

Eu sempre ouvi histórias bem complicadas. Policiais convencionais acertando “um cafezinho”, “guaraná”, “o das crianças” em troca de não aplicar multa por alguma irregularidade constatada. No site da UniverCidade, Rodrigo Pimentel, autor do livro “Elite da Tropa” e também roteirista do filme, e além disso ex-capitão do BOPE, avalia a situação da Polícia carioca. “A polícia do Rio precisa de um choque de gestão para eliminar o excesso de burocracia dos batalhões – herdado do Exército Brasileiro do início do século passado – e solucionar problemas como baixos salários, corrupção, tortura e o grande número de vítimas nas favelas”.

I have always heard complicated stories on the subject. Conventional troopers picking up “a little breakfast,” some “soda pop,” “a little something for the kids,” in exchange for not writing you a ticket over something or other. On the Web site of UniverCidade, Pimentel, author of the book on which the film is based and co-writer of the movie as well, assesses the sitaution of the Rio police. “The Rio police need shock therapy to eliminate excessive bureaucracy in the battalions — inherited from the 20th century Brazilian army — and solve problems such as low salaries, corruption, torture and the large number of victims in the shantytowns.”

Eating, drinking (beer) and being merry “on the arm,” as old-school New York slang referred to it, is something I have seen here and there myself.

The character of Capt. Nascimento, the principal crusader for the notion that “BOPE is violent but incorruptible” in the film, is something of an autohagiographical character representing Pimentel.

But have been some recent indications that BOPE troopers may also moonlight in misanthropreneurial public-private bicos from time to time. See, for example

And what were seven BOPE troopers doing in Inspector Tostes’ apartment that fateful day, anyway?

Look, I have a certain admiration for Pimentel’s activity in this regard myself, but the guy is basically a carioca Detective Vincennes (Kevin Spacey) from L.A. Confidential.

And there are some straight-up questions that no one is asking him in the interview blitz that is preceding the release of the movie.

“Entertainment journalism” being the near-oxymoron that it is.

Questions about real life, today.

O Globo has also worked very hard, by the way, to promote the image of BOPE “incorruptibility” recently. But again, this Cinderella story seems to gloss over some inconvenient facts that still need some serious looking into, it seems to me. See

Segundo Pimentel, “o efeito colateral gerado pela polícia nas comunidades carentes, às vezes, é pior que os efeitos do tráfico e que não está havendo esforço suficiente para produzir segurança pública no Rio de Janeiro”. No filme, tapas na cara, “saco plástico”, xingamentos entre outras cenas de torturas executadas por policiais do BOPE, são constantes. Por outro lado, PMs convencionais como o Capitão Fábio, por ter atrapalhado o esquema de “arrego” (mesada dos traficantes aos policiais) são levados por outros de seu batalhão para ser “passado” (morto), pelos seus companheiros de profissão. Mostra também os jovens de classe média que fundaram uma ONG na comunidade, mas consomem drogas cedidas pelos traficantes que são seus amigos, e não acreditam nos policiais, pois já sofreram algum tipo de extorsão.

According to Pimentel, “the collateral damage generated by police in poor communities is sometimes worse than the effects of the drug trade, and sufficient efforts are not being made to produce public safety in Rio.” In the film, smacks in the face, the use of the “plastic bag,” and cursing, among other scenes of BOPE troopers practicing torture, are constant. On the other hand, conventional PMs such as Capt. Fabião, who has interfered with a monthly payoff scheme, are taken off by fellow troopers to get “ironed” (killed). The film also shows middle-class youth who have founded an NGO in the community, but consume drugs provided by the traffic to their friends, and who have no faith in the cops because they have all suffered some sort of extortion.

No dia 21/09/07, o site do jornal “O Globo” fez uma pesquisa com seus leitores perguntando quem já deu propina para PM. De um total de 1.718 internautas, apenas 36% afirmam que jamais fariam isso. Outros 36% disseram que já deram propina mais de uma vez e 17% fizeram em uma única oportunidade; 9% ainda não cometeram este crime, mas fariam se necessário e 2% tentaram, mas o policial não aceitou. Concordo que o salário que eles recebem é ingrato, mas nada justifica. Diante destes fatos e da minha vivência dou minha opinião: a polícia está desacreditada e precisa melhorar urgentemente para melhorar esta imagem e nos garantir a segurança prometida.

On September 21, the Web site of the O Globo daily published a survey of readers asking how many had paid a bribe to the PM. Of a total of 1,718 site vistors responding, only 36% said they never had. Another 36% said they had done so more than once, and 17% had done so only once. Another 9% said they had never committed this crime, but would, if need be, and 2% said they had tried, but the policeman had not accepted. I agree that police salaries are woeful, but nothing justifies this. Given these facts and my life experience, my opinion is: The police are discredited and urgently need to improve this image and provide us the security they promised.

We tried getting our hands on a Sino-Paraguayan pirate copy of the film yesterday on the narrow streets of Santa Ifigênia — “Crack City” — São Paulo, yesterday, by the way.

All sold out, we were told, after a lot of hustling and bustling on the part of that elaborate Lewis Carroll “caucus race” by which your $7 copy of Windows Vista is retrieved from microentrepreneurial nooks and crannies in buildings you would not want to venture into.

Preferred radio communications equipment provider for which, apparently: Nextel. Based on our informal and hasty — “Let’s jump in a cab and get the hell out of here!” my wife says — curbside inspection.

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