Brazil Police Sparks Outrage After Forcing Black Man into SUV, Suffocating Him to Death with Gas Grenade in Viral Video

A video clip of Brazilian police officers gassing a mentally ill Black man to death after forcing him into the back of a police car has sparked outrage across the country.

Genivaldo de Jesus Santos, 38, was stopped by the federal highway police in the city of Umbaúba on Wednesday, May 25.

'They're Going to Kill the Guy'

Genivaldo de Jesus Santos
Stills from the video that is being circulated on social media show police officers gassing Genivaldo de Jesus Santos to death inside a police vehicle. Twitter

Video footage of the incident shows two officers in helmets holding the car boot closed on his thrashing legs as he screams while plumes of gas billow out of the vehicle.

"They're going to kill the guy," an onlooker can be heard saying, as Santos's legs go still. The clip is now being widely circulated on social media by users who are demanding justice for Santos. Watch the video below: (The video is graphic in nature. Viewer discretion is advised).

Santos Died of Asphyxiation, Confirms Autopsy Report

An autopsy report confirmed on Thursday that Santos had died of asphyxiation. HIs death came two years to the day after George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis by a white police officer who was later found guilty of murder.

Genivaldo de Jesus Santos
Genivaldo de Jesus Santos Twitter

According to his family, Santos suffered from schizophrenia, for which he took medication. Santos's nephew Alisson de Jesus, who witnessed the incident said he had warned the police that the man was unwell before they released what he described as a teargas grenade. "It was a torture session," he told the local press.

Santos' death has now sparked protests in Umbauba where dozens have taken to the streets, blocking off roads and burning tires to rally against the police brutality.

"Police officers turned a car into a gas chamber and executed a mentally ill man," Renata Souza, a Black activist and politician from Rio de Janeiro, wrote on Twitter. "There are no words in the face of such inhumanity. Brazil is an extermination camp!"

Police Releases Statement

In a statement, federal highway police in the state of Sergipe said that the officers had used "immobilisation techniques" and "instruments of minor offensive potential" after Santos became aggressive. The statement says that Santos was taken to hospital after he became unwell on the way to the police station.

His family said Santos was already dead when he arrived at the hospital. Santos was killed one day after 26 people died during a police raid in the Vila Cruzeiro favela in Rio de Janeiro, the city's second deadliest police operation on record. Police are rarely held to account in such cases, but there were widespread calls for the officers in the video to face investigation.