After killing mentally ill man with tear gas, police agents are suspended

torture sergipe summit tear gas
Bystanders filmed the violent police action. Photo: Social media

The Federal Highway Police suspended the officers involved in the death of Genivaldo de Jesus Santos, a black, poor, and mentally ill man, in the northeastern state of Sergipe. After a routine stop-and-search on Wednesday, the officers immobilized Mr. Santos and threw him in the trunk of a squad car filled with pepper spray and tear gas.

The entire incident was filmed by onlookers. The footage shows officers holding the trunk door closed while the man continues screaming. He died of tear gas asphyxiation.

At first, police said that the agents used “less lethal methods” to contain the man and that “would open an investigation.”

On Twitter, Justice Minister Anderson Torres said he had ordered investigations by the Federal Highway Police and Federal Police. President Jair Bolsonaro has yet to speak about the incident, but on the same day congratulated military and highway police for a deadly raid in a Rio de Janeiro favela that left more than 20 dead.