Translation of article “Investigação de morte na Maré está sob vigilância.” Published in O Dia on November 24, 2011.
RIO – “It’s just me and you now! Will you help me raise your brother?” Clesiane Silva Ferreira, crying, asked her daughter Keyliane, 13, at the burial of her husband, shopkeeper Altair Bento de Oliveira, 46. The funeral was held this Wednesday afternoon at the Cemitério da Ordem Terceira do Carmo, Caju, in Rio’s Port Zone.
Altair was killed on Tuesday by a stray bullet during the Civil Police’s “Operation Thunder”, in Parque União, a favela in the Complexo da Maré. Altair’s widow and children (the youngest is 5 years old) will not be abandoned: his relatives are suing the state.
The Human Rights Defense commissions of ALERJ (the Legislative Assembly of Rio de Janeiro state) and the Municipal Congress are accompanying investigations into the shopkeeper’s death. The Congress will send representatives of the Public Ministry and the Public Defender, and ALERJ will study the measures needed to formalize the case against the state.
“The is the state’s fault for not training their police force well. You can’t come in shooting with so many innocent people in the streets,” said Altair’s brother, Aloísio Bento de Oliveira, 49.
Parque União residents prepared documents detailing the police operation that killed Altair. This account reconstructs the exact timeline of at least four shots fired in the community, and shows that the bullet that struck the victim could have been fired by a CORE (Coordenadoria de Operações e Recursos Especiais) agent. The police will deliver their report within thirty days. The investigation is being handled by the Homicide Division.
Sadness and indignation at the burial
Close to a hundred people, among them relatives, friends, and neighbors, attended the ceremony. Aloísio recounted how his brother appeared to be preparing to say goodbye the past week. “He wrote the lyrics of romantic music on the wall of the house for his wife, and on Sunday we went fishing. It was an unforgettable day with my brother, our last day together,” he lamented.
According to Alderwoman Teresa Burgher, president of the Board’s Human Rights Commission, residents allege that the police hit Altair while shooting at a crack user. “Even if they had hit the person they were aiming for, does that mean the police can just come in and shoot at drug addicts?” Teresa asked.