Brazil: ‘Tropa de Elite Tells it Like It Is”

Currently, what we have reports of, with the PM, is that they play Russian roulette with suspects,” the state police ombusdman for São Paulo recounted.

‘Tropa de Elite mostra a polícia bandida’, diz ouvidor da Polícia de São Paulo: G1/Globo interviews the ouvidor [ombudsman] of the São Paulo police about his views on the film Tropa de Elite — possibly to be released as Elite Squad in the USA in January, but I am not sure about that.

On which see also

The film opened in Brazil this week.

Corrupção na polícia, uso da tortura para conseguir informações sobre suspeitos, violência exagerada. Tudo o que retrata o filme “Tropa de Elite”, do diretor José Padilha, que estreou nos cinemas nesta semana, acontece no dia-a-dia de uma grande cidade como São Paulo, afirma o ouvidor da Polícia do Estado, Antonio Funari Filho. No entanto, segundo ele, na vida real os fatos ocorrem em menor intensidade. O G1 levou o ouvidor para assistir ao filme no cinema na noite da sexta-feira (5).

Police corruption, the use of torture to get information on criminal suspects, extreme violence. Everything shown in the film Tropa de Elite, directed by José Padilha, which opened in theaters this week, also happens in the day-to-day routine of a big city like São Paulo, says the state police ombudsman, Antonio Funari Jr. However, he says, in real life things happen with less intensity. G1 took the ombudsman to see the movie on Friday evening.

Globo Internet journalists bribe policeman with free movie tickets!

Not. Just kidding. I was just imagining what the Mainardis of the world might make of a story like this.

“Tropa de Elite” conta a história de um capitão do Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais (Bope), do Rio de Janeiro, que, nas vésperas do nascimento de seu primeiro filho, busca um sucessor para deixar o cargo. O filme representa incursões do grupo nas favelas e aborda também a corrupção num batalhão policial que ganha dinheiro para proteger comerciantes e o jogo do bicho.

The film tells the story of a captain in the Special Operations Battalion of Rio de Janeiro, who, as his first daughter is about to be born, seeks a successor so he can leave his post. The film shows the group raiding shantytowns and also deals with corruption in a police battalion which takes money to protect businesses and the jogo do bicho “numbers” rackets.

“O filme mostra a polícia bandida que se outorgou o direito de matar, de fazer justiça”, diz Funari Filho, que não concorda com a visão glamourizada dos policiais de tropas de elite como se fossem policiais especiais. O ouvidor diz ser inadmissível o que chama de violência covarde: torturar e matar uma pessoa já rendida. “É um exemplo do que não deve ser a polícia”, atesta. “Quem comete tortura e mata é bandido, está desrespeitando a lei. Tortura não é admitida nem na guerra. Na guerra pode matar, mas não torturar, porque isso humilha o ser humano”.

“The film shows the criminal policeman who claims the right to kill, to do justice,” says Funari, who does not agree with the glamorized depiction of the elite units as if they were special policemen. He says that what he calls “cowardly violence” is inadmissible: torturing and killing a person who has already submitted or been controlled. “This is an example of what the police should not be,” he attests. “If you torture and kill, you are a bandit, you are breaking the law. Torture is not admitted even in war. In wars, you can kill, but you cannot torture, because this degrades the human being.”

Alberto Gonzalez reportedly disagreed, as we read in the papers this week.

O problema, no entanto, está presente na polícia de São Paulo, admite o ouvidor. “Já ouvi falar do uso do saco nas cadeias [no filme, os policiais envolvem a cabeça das pessoas num saco plástico para torturá-las], mas não há ocorrências recentes. Atualmente, o que temos relatos, na PM, é de eles fazerem roleta russa com os suspeitos”, contou. Para Funari Filho, uma polícia competente deve usar a investigação e não métodos violentos. Segundo ele, é um erro pensar que é com violência que se vai conseguir combater o crime organizado. “Se esse tipo de coisa resolvesse, o Rio de Janeiro estaria uma maravilha”.

The problem is also present in the São Paulo police, the ombudsman admits. “I have heard of the use of plastic bags in the jails [in the film, police wrap the heads of persons in a plastic sack to torture them], but not recently. Currently, what we have reports of, with the PM, is that they play Russian roulette with suspects,” he recounted. In his view, a competent policeman should use investigative techniques, not violent methods. He says it is a mistake to think that organized crime can be combated with violence. “If this type of thing solved the problem, Rio would be a paradise.”

In the travel brochures produced by RIOTUR, of course, Rio already IS a paradise.

Na opinião de Funari Filho, policiais que agem dessa forma podem ter problemas psicológicos. Segundo ele, a ouvidoria solicitou à Secretaria da Segurança Pública que anualmente seja feita uma avaliação psicológica dos policiais para que sejam identificados os problemas e as pessoas sejam encaminhadas para tratamento.

In Funari’s view, police who engage in this conduct might have psychological problems.

See also

According to him, his office asks the state secretary of public security to perform an annual psychological evaluation of police so that problems can be identified and persons sent to treatment.

We recently saw a state PM-produced newscast in which the PM’s intake testing was used to support the notion that police cannot be corrupt, because screening is so effective. See

 

“Privatização da segurança”

“Privatization of public safety”

Quanto ao problema da corrupção, o ouvidor acredita que pode ser minimizado com uma melhor remuneração dos policiais. “É uma atividade estressante, de risco, que precisa ser melhor remunerada”.

As to the problem of corruption, the ombudsman believes it could be minimized with better salaries for police. “It is a stressful occupation, risky, which needs to be better paid.”

On the Pronasci program — the plan included federal salary subsidies for police who undergo training — see

Ele também critica a parceria com a iniciativa privada. De acordo com Funari, a polícia não deveria aceitar verba de particulares porque isso configura uma “privatização da segurança” e depois eles podem cobrar em favores o investimento feito.

He also criticizes the partnership with the private sector. According to Funari, the police should not accept funds from private parties, because this constitutes a “privatization of public safety,” and later, the private parties may recover their investment in the form of favors.

Funari Filho ficou indignado com o fato de a platéia sorrir em várias cenas, inclusive de violência. “As pessoas têm um conceito que é uma guerra e que na guerra tudo vale”, analisa.

Funari was indignant with the fact that the audience smiled at certain scenes, including scenes of violence. “People have this idea that this is a war and in a war, anything goes,” he said.

Segundo ele, a população tende a querer que a polícia trabalhe de forma violenta contra os bandidos, como se agisse com instinto de vingança o que, segundo o ouvidor, não deve acontecer. “A função da polícia é garantir a ordem, a segurança, mas a população torce para que ela haja como um capanga”

According to him, the public tends to like seeing the police being violent against bandits, as if acting out of an instinct for revenge — something, he says, that should not occur. “The function of the policeman is to guarantee order and safety, but the people root for him to act like [Jack Palance’s character in Shane, sort of.]

On real life as spaghetti Western — the preferred trope of New York Times reporter Larry Rohter and the director of the Sundance-celebrated documentary Manda Bala (“Send a Bullet” [sic]) (“meaningless, sensationalistic fluff!” — New York Times) — queue this one up on the old infotainment jukebox:

Once upon a time when perhaps the sun was fading behind
the mountains.
The shadow of a strong man, with a gun in his hand,
raised to protect
the poor people of the haciendas, they called him: “El
Justiciero”
Hey! El Justiciero buenos dias
Que tienes a decir
El Justiciero yo soy pobre
Que tienes a me dar
” Tiengo chocolate quiente
tequila, paga lo que deves”
El Justiciero cha, cha, cha
Que otra cosa puedo dar
El Justiciero yo tengo 30 hijos con fambre,
la guerra me ha strupatto tanto bene, socuerro,
El Justiciero, aiuta me por favor
Os Mutantes, “El Justiciero”

Roll your rrs in a comically exaggerated fashion when pronouncing guerra (pronounced gwe-rrrrrra) and socuerro (a phony Portunhol back formation for socorro, similar to Cueca Cuela for Coca Cola. Cueca in PT-Br means ‘undershorts’).

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