The São Paulo Court of Justice ruled for the family of Romildo da Silva, killed by the Military Police on August 28, 1995. The judge ordered the payment of 90,000 Brazilian reais (about $56,000 USD) for emotional damage and as alimony pension for compensatory damages.
For Conectas Direitos Humanos (“Conectas Human Rights”), the organization that helps to defend relatives of this victim, the ruling represents a form of avoiding future abuses. The UN will appeal this decision to the Brazilian Federal Court of Appeals to reevaluate the amount of the payment. The trial court had originally awarded the payment of 1,000 thousand reais (about $621,500 USD) to Romildo’s family.
Romildo was killed while returning home with a colleague, Antonio Carlos Santos. Five policemen approached the two friends. They followed the policemen’s orders without any resistance and were put into the police vehicle. Both died a few hours later. According to the Military Police, the deaths occurred after a car chase. The Military Police further said that Romildo and Antonio tried to commit a robbery and resisted arrest, and then a gunfight ensued.
However, a witness that wishes to remain anonymous said that both men were put into the police vehicle alive and were later killed. The evidence conflicted with the police’s version of what happened, given no gunpowder was found in the car or on the victims. The analysis of the bullet trajectories also showed that the police’s version of events did not make sense.
Translation: Benjamin J. Freeman