With the death of one more person on Tuesday (30/8) during operations by the Military Police in Belo Horizonte, the lethality of the corporation was once again discussed. In the last two months, four suspects were killed by military personnel in and around the capital, one in the Cabana do Pai Toms Aglomerate, another in Vila Embaba, both in the West Region of the city, one in Savassi, in the Centro-Sul Region, and another in Vila Barraginha, in Contagem, in the metropolitan region.
With adoption scheduled for this year, the installation of body cameras in police uniforms can help reduce the lethality of actions, strengthen judicial evidence and even protect the security agent himself, according to an expert.
According to the Military Police (PM), the system is expected to be implemented this semester. The 1,440 devices acquired for the state will be shared among the military, following the division of shifts, and will serve around 4,000 servers. According to public security specialist Lus Flvio Sapori, the technology covers excess lethal force and abuse of authority by police officers.
He states that the events recorded in recent months could have had a different outcome if the equipment had already been in use, although, according to him, with the data presented so far by the government of Minas, it is not possible to measure the extent to which the cameras will be effective. .
However, Sapori guarantees that, where it already works, the equipment has a positive impact on police actions. “We still have no way of predicting what the effects will be here in BH, but considering the characteristics of the city and its operations, police officers who make extreme use of violence would think twice, three times before fatally victimizing people,” he explains.
LETHALITY On Tuesday morning, a 37-year-old man was killed during an operation by the Metropolitan Tactical Ostensive Rounds Battalion (Rotam) against drug trafficking, in the Cabana do Pai Toms Agglomerate, West BH.
According to the PM’s version, the victim and four other men were denounced for selling narcotics on the street. Upon arriving at the scene, police officers were reportedly greeted by gunshots. After the chase, one of the men was approached in an alley near Rua Nossa Senhora Aparecida. At that moment, the military claims that he would have pointed a gun and refused to release it, and therefore they had to shoot.
However, contrary to the official version, the victim’s family claims he was not armed. To Estado de Minas, the man’s sister said that he was leaving a neighbor’s house when he was surprised and killed by the police.
Another similar case took place on August 19, in Vila Embabas, in the Nova Gameleira neighborhood, also in the West Region of the capital. A 15-year-old boy died at the time. The Military Police stated that the young man was armed, however, the community maintains that the officers confused a cell phone with a weapon.
According to residents of the region, the teenager was killed with nine shots, information that has not yet been confirmed by the police. “I was not present, but another teenager who was with him said that Pedro went to take his cell phone from his waist, and at that time the police fired”, says a community leader, who preferred not to identify himself.
According to Sarpori, in cases like this, body cameras can help to strengthen judicial evidence in cases in the Military Justice, helping to clarify doubts. “Good police officers will have great protection against slanderous complaints, the images will also be useful to protect the good policeman”, he concludes.
PUNISHMENT When questioned, the PMMG spokeswoman, Major Layla Brunella, said that the lethality of the corporation in the state is the lowest in the country and that there are cases in which suspects make denouncements or coerce the population to denounce to prevent public safety from taking action.
“Today we are the Military Police with the lowest lethality in the country, and these numbers are not ours. We are not the ones making this classification, a federal level classification. Today, we have a safer state to live in, so this shows that despite punctual, extremely targeted actions, we are a police force that manages to do this without lethal use.
She also stated that reported cases are investigated and, if confirmed, punished. “We are an unblemished police. If we make a mistake, we punish our military police, sometimes even with exclusion. The military police officer in Minas knows how much weight the Military Penal Code has in relation to our conduct. Any wrongful action will be investigated and, if necessary, punished with the dismissal and exoneration of the military police officer”, said the major at a press conference.
TO RECORDED In addition to the cases of Aglomerado Cabana do Pai Toms and Vila Embabas, on the night of July 16, after an anonymous report stating that people were firing firearms, a 29-year-old man was also killed during a police operation in the Vila Barraginha, in Contagem, in the Metropolitan Region of Belo Horizonte.
At the time, the information released by the corporation was that the victim, who would be the head of drug trafficking in the region, would have tried to take the rifle from one police officer and the weapon from another. In alleged defense, the military shot the man three times.
However, the family presented another version of the facts, saying that the victim collaborated during the investigations at the scene. The action was recorded by neighbors and the images gained social media. According to the family, the young man was “executed” behind a Kombi with three gunshots.
After the death, the military police officer responsible for the shooting was taken to the 39th Battalion. At the time, the PM said that the major would undergo a psychological evaluation to see if he could return to work.
Regarding the forwarding of the victim to another location, the PM informed that, at the time of the approach, the place was full of people, and the intention was to isolate the suspect in a quieter part for the continuation of the approach safely. Regarding the video that circulates on the networks, the military claims that the images were edited.
Another case that gained repercussion in relation to the PM was the shooting at Savassi, in BH, on Monday (22/8). The military shot a robbery suspect after an escape. The man, whose identity was not disclosed, hit several cars and vehicles in an attempt to escape the approach.
Military to have autonomy to activate equipment
Unlike the method adopted by the state of So Paulo, where cameras were added to uniforms in June 2021, the equipment to be used in Minas Gerais will not film the entire work of the police. According to the PM, the form used in the state will be similar to that of the United States, England and France, in which the military has the autonomy to start recordings. When installed, the cameras will remain on, but the images will only be filmed after the police call. Before installation, the corporation will provide the necessary guidelines as to which moments should or should not be recorded.
In So Paulo, the measure adopted had an effect. The number of victims of lethal police actions in the state dropped by 30% last year compared to 2020. Research data carried out by members of the Brazilian Public Security Forum also showed that in 2021 there was a 47% reduction in the lethality of the actions of the battalions that were part of the program to use cameras in uniforms, while in the others, the drop was only 16.5% compared to the previous year.
In Minas, the idea, not yet implemented, was even defended by the then-government candidate Romeu Zema (Novo) in the 2018 election campaign. At the time, the current governor stated that the installation of cameras would help the police in the fight against crime.
EYE ON THE SCENE
Benefits provided by the use of body cameras
» Protection from the police
» Strengthening judicial evidence
» Reduction in the use of force
» Reduction of denouncements and complaints
» Affirmation of professional culture
» Quick crisis resolution
» Evaluation of the service provided
» Improvement through training
» Transparency and legitimacy