Panic at COPOM: Radio Games During São Paulo’s PCC-PM Wars?

I’ve paid my dues –
Time after time –
I’ve done my sentence
But committed no crime –
And bad mistakes
I’ve made a few
I’ve had my share of sand kicked in my face –
But I’ve come through
— Queen, “We Are The Champions,” used as a theme song for a São Paulo PM recruiting video

SÃO PAULO — Central da PM não gravou reação aos ataques do PCC: The Estado and Folha are both working the story of a 72-day blackout in a system for recording police communications during the PC-PMM wars of May 2006.

See also

And compare

A investigação sobre as mortes de civis durante a reação policial aos ataques do PCC (Primeiro Comando da Capital), no ano passado, perdeu uma de suas principais provas. Contrariando procedimentos normais de segurança, o Copom (centro de operações da Polícia) de São Paulo afirma não ter gravado as comunicações entre o órgão e os carros dos policiais acionados nos supostos confrontos.

Investigations into the death of civilians during the police response to attacks by the PCC criminal faction last year have lost one of their principal pieces of evidence. Contrary to normal security procedures, São Paulo’s COPOM (police operations center) says it did not record communications between COPOM and police cars dispatched to alleged confrontations.

A Polícia Militar diz que houve uma pane no aparelho que grava as comunicações do Copom na capital paulista e nega sabotagem. As conversas nem chegaram a ser gravadas, segundo a corporação. O Ministério Público classifica o episódio como “esdrúxulo” e promete investigar o caso.

The state military police says there was a failure in the system for recording COPOM communications, but denied sabotage. The conversations were never even recorded, according to the police force. The public prosecutor called the episode esdrúxulo and promised to investigate.

Esdrúxulo:

… fora dos padrões comuns e que causa espanto ou riso; esquisito, extravagante, excêntrico

… unusual, surprising or laughable; weird, extravagant, eccentric

Gravadores do Copom registram as ligações para o telefone 190 e as comunicações, por rádio, entre o órgão e os carros da PM acionados para atender as ocorrências policiais.

COPOM recordings register calls to [São Paulo’s version of 911] and the radio communications between the operations center and military police patrol cars dispatched to the scene of police incidents.

O registro dos diálogos é utilizado para esclarecer as circunstâncias de ações consideradas suspeitas. Em alguns casos, por exemplo, a gravação traz até sons dos tiros durante a ação policial, o que ajuda a avaliar a atuação dos policiais nos confrontos.

The recorded communications are used to clarify the circumstances of activities considered suspect. In same cases, for example, the recordings capture the sound of gunshots during police actions, which helps to evaluate the actions of policemen during armed confrontations.

Segundo a PM, no entanto, houve interrupção no serviço entre os dias 26 de abril e 11 de julho do ano passado, conforme antecipou ontem o jornal “O Estado de S. Paulo”. O equipamento, que era obsoleto, teria sido encaminhado para conserto, que durou 76 dias.

According to the PM, however, there was an interruption in service between April 26 and July 11, 2006, as the Estado de S. Paulo reported yesterday. The equipment, which was obsolete, had been sent off for repairs that took 76 days.

72 horas

72 hours

A ausência da gravação justamente em um período em que policiais são suspeitos de forjar situações de confrontos e matar civis foi descoberta em um processo criminal que apura a morte de dois adolescentes –Leandro Carmo da Silva, 15, e Laion Alcioles Soares Cancela, 17- pela Força Tática da PM.

The lack of recording at the precise moment in which police are suspected of faking armed clashes and killing civilians was uncovered during a criminal proceeding into the death of two teenagers — Leandro Carmo da Silva, 15, and Laion Alcioles Soares Cancela, 17 — at the hands of the PM’s “tactical force.”

On “faking clashes,” the Estadão reported recently on the testimony of a ROTA officer as follows, one one such “clash”:

At the time this happened, the two marginals were already dead and stowed in the trunk of the squad cars. They were already dead. Two plainclothes troopers got in the pickup to simulate the hot pursuit, but what nearly spoiled the thing was that a TV news team was nearby and started filming. But when the pickup stopped and the shooting started, the TV news people stopped. So this is what happened: The TV news report showed one thing, but it benefited the police, because it did not show what really happened there.

I would like to know what TV news program that was.

A falha só foi confirmada depois que a Justiça determinou 72 horas para o secretário estadual da Segurança Pública, Ronaldo Marzagão, apresentar as gravações do Copom envolvendo a morte dos dois jovens.

The failure was only detected after the court gave the state secretary of public security (SSP), Marzagão, 72 hours to hand over the COPOM recordings of the incident in which the two young men died.

Um dia depois de um oficial de Justiça ter entregue a notificação na secretaria, o coronel Ailton Araújo Brandão, comandante do Policiamento da Capital, encaminhou ofício à 3ª Vara do Júri de São Paulo relatando a falha. Segundo o ofício, o equipamento de gravação “parou de funcionar por problemas de desgaste natural”.

A day after a court officer delivered the order to the SSP, Col. Ailton Araújo Brandão, commander of the Capital Police Force of the PM, sent an affidavit to the 3rd Jury of São Paulo reporting the systems failure. According to this document, the recording equipment “stopped working because of normal wear and tear.”

A primeira onda de violência envolvendo ataques do PCC, seguida de uma reação policial, ocorreu entre os dias 12 e 19 de maio do ano passado. No total, 493 pessoas foram assassinadas no Estado, 92 delas em supostos confrontos com a PM.

The first wave of violence involving attacks by the PCC, followed by police reprisals, took place between May 12 and May 19 of last year. In all, 493 persons were killed in the state, 93 in supposed armed clashes with the PM.

“As gravações são importantes para esclarecer essas circunstâncias. Para apontar irregularidade, mas também para confirmar a legalidade da ação. Agora, vamos ter de buscar outras provas”, afirmou o promotor Augusto Eduardo de Souza Rossini, que atua no processo da morte dos adolescentes. “A ausência da gravação pelo Copom pode prejudicar até mesmo a defesa dos policiais.”

“The recordings are important for explaining these occurrences. To denounce irregularities, but also to confirm the legality of police actions. Now, we will have to find other evidence,” said prosecutor Souza Rossini, who is trying the case of the teenagers. “The lack of a COPOM recording could even harm the defense of the policemen.”

Segundo o assessor especial de direitos humanos da Procuradoria Geral de Justiça, Carlos Cardoso, o episódio é “esdrúxulo” e precisa ser investigado. “Por que ficaram tanto tempo sem gravar essas conversas? Isso precisa ser explicado.”

According to the state prosecutor’s special assistant for human rights, Carlos Cardoso, the episode is “bizarre” and needs to be investigated. “Why did they go so long without recording these conversations? This needs to be explained.”

Cardoso afirma que a Procuradoria vai abrir uma investigação para saber por que o Copom ficou sem o sistema de gravação durante tanto tempo.

Cardoso says the prosecutor’s office will investigate why COPOM lacked a recording system for so long.

“Esse problema [ausência de gravação] deveria ter sido resolvido o mais breve possível. Temos de saber por que não foi”, afirmou o ouvidor da polícia paulista, Antonio Funari.

Police ombudsman Funari says, “This problem shold have been resolved as quickly as possible. We need to know what it wasn’t.”

Segundo ele, dos quatro PMs envolvidos na ação que provocou a morte dois jovens, três tinham participado de outras ações com morte. Um deles já tinha se envolvido em outros seis casos de suposto confronto. “Isso é muito para um só policial”, disse Funari.

According to Funari, of the four PMs involved in the incident that resulted in the death of the two young men, three had participated in other fatal incidents. One was involved in another six cases of supposed armed confrontation. “That is a lot for one policeman,” Funari said.

Os PMs afirmam que os adolescentes trafegavam em um carro roubado e reagiram. Familiares afirmam que os jovens não tinham envolvimento com o crime e não sabiam dirigir.

The PMs say the two were driving a stolen car, and resisted arrest. Family members say the two had no involvement in crime and did not know how to drive.

Recent state statistics show a sharp drop in violent crime — but no attendant drop in police violence. On the contrary. See also

As Paulo Mesquita Neto of USP and Columbia University wrote in a February 2007 op-ed:

Quantas pessoas foram mortas por policiais em 2006? Segundo os dados divulgados pela secretaria à imprensa, foram 533. Por que esse número foi muito superior ao registrado em 2005 (300)? Segundo a secretaria, sem mencionar os ataques do PCC e os revides da polícia em 2006, porque o número de 2005 foi o mais baixo dos últimos anos.

How many persons were killed by police in 2006? According to data released to the press, 533. Why was that number so much larger than the deaths registered in 2005? The secretary, without mentioning the PCC attacks and police reprisals of 2006, notes merely that the 2005 number was the lowest in recent years.

Acontece que 533 (542, segundo dados publicados no “Diário Oficial”) é o número de pessoas mortas por policias em serviço, consideradas apenas as mortes registradas como “resistência seguida de morte”. O número não inclui as mortes registradas como “resistência seguida de morte” que aconteceram quando os policiais estavam em folga. Também não inclui o número de pessoas mortas por policiais, em serviço e em folga, em casos registrados como “homicídio doloso” ou “homicídio culposo”.

As it turns out, that figure of 533 (or 542, according to data published in the Official Diary) is the number of persons killed by on-duty police, and is confined to deaths registered under the heading “resistance followed by death.” The number does not include deaths in cases of “resistance followed by death” involving off-duty police officers. Nor does it include the number of persons killed by police officers, off-duty and on-, in cases filed under “wrongful death” or “culpable homicide.”

On a similar appeal to a “privatization effect” to dampen the perceived effect of official violence, consider the Mexican federal human rights commission’s report on paramilitary death-squad activity in Oaxaca:

… a large percentage of the events in question were caused by private citizens and, as such, are not part of the constitutional and legal mandate of this body.

That is to say, if policemen moonlighting as PRI paramilitary death-squadders were not on duty at the time, then their activities do not count as official acts and cannot be investigated as acts of abuse of power.

An astonishing instance of regulatory arbitrage in an ad hoc public-private partnership, that.
See

Mesquita:

Em 2006, o número total de pessoas mortas por policiais em serviço e fora de serviço foi 708 (33% a mais que o número divulgado pela secretaria): 570 mortes registradas como resistência seguida de morte e 138 registradas como “homicídio” doloso ou culposo. Em 2005, o número total de pessoas mortas por policiais foi 469 (56% a mais que as 300 mortes divulgadas pela secretaria). Número superior ao de pessoas mortas por policiais de todas as polícias em todos os Estados dos Estados Unidos, que não passa de 400 por ano desde 1995.

The total number of persons killed by on-duty and off-duty police in 2006 was 708 (33% larger than the secretary’s figure): 570 registered as “resistance followed by death” and 138 registered as “homicide,” wrongful or culpable. In 2005, the total number of persons killed by police was 469 (56% more than the 300 deaths disclosed by the secretary). That is more than the number of persons killed by police in all the other Brazilian states combined, which has not surpassed 400 since 1995.

A similar situation obtains in Rio de Janeiro, according to reports by the Folha and Estadão:

Here, too, a technical glitch impedes the colletion of accurate information:

The number [of police killings] will probably turn out to be even higher, because the quarterly report published on Monday, July 16, only included the 100 police precincts with computerized reporting, the so-called “legal precincts” [?], which provide 60% of the data. The consolidated numbers, with the results from the other 65 precincts, have not yet been counted because there was a delay in paying the salaries of the data-entry clerks, according to the Institute for Public Security, [the state agency] responsible for crime statistics.

The image “https://i1.wp.com/i113.photobucket.com/albums/n216/cbrayton/homicidedrop.png” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Túlio Kahn, state public safety analysis and planning coordinator up to 2005, director of the state justice ministry’s department of cooperation and operation planning (2003), and former adviser to the state prison system (1999), tells Bostonians that São Paulo deserves much of the credit for the declining homicide rate nationwide. Source: Fernando Henrique Cardoso Foundation.

The image “https://i2.wp.com/i113.photobucket.com/albums/n216/cbrayton/drop2.png” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
From the Kahn report: Positive trends in violent death!

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