A video appears to show federal police in Brazil forcing a mentally ill Black man into the back of a car and releasing a gas grenade in the vehicle, killing him. Federal highway police stopped 38-year-old Genivaldo de Jesus Santos, as footage shows, pinning him to the ground, putting him in the back of a police car, and trapping his kicking legs with the door as gas billows out of the vehicle. An autopsy confirmed that Santos, who suffered from schizophrenia, according to family members, died of asphyxiation. Santos’ nephew, Wallison de Jesus, told local media outlets that his uncle was unarmed. The nephew said that Santos became nervous after officers found medication packets during the encounter. As per the nephew’s account, he told officers that Santos needed the medication and that his uncle “didn’t resist.” Officers tell a different story, saying that Santos “actively resisted.” In a statement, Brazil’s Federal Police said that officers had tried to use “instruments of lesser offensive potential” and that they are investigating Santos’ death. The video has sent shockwaves through Brazil, where police violence is commonplace and disproportionately affects Black civilians.
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