Two military police officers in Brazil have been suspended after one was seen standing on a black woman’s neck.
The decision to investigate the cops was announced Sunday night by São Paulo Governor João Doria after the 51-year-old victim suffered a broken neck during the scuffle with police.
In the video, a cop aims his gun at a man, who was seen taking off his t-shirt. The officer then approached the woman and pushed her back while she was standing next to his partner who was handcuffing a man.
The woman later appeared in the video lying face down on the ground with the police officer driving his boot into her neck. The other cop could be seen in the background dragging a second male individual, who was later arrested.
The incident took place May 30 in Parelheiros, the capital of São Paulo, according to Brazilian news outlet G1.
The woman, a widow and mother of five children, said she was attempting to play peacemaker between the police and her friend, who was being questioned after the cops responded to a noise complaint.
A struggle ensued between the two police officers and the man before he was placed under arrest.
‘Then I asked the policeman not to hit him anymore because he was already passed out, lying on the floor,’ the woman said.
She said of the moment she was lying on the ground: ‘The more I struggled, the more he [cop] tightened the boot around my neck.’
She was treated at a local hospital for her leg injury and had several cuts that required 16 stitches.
During a Monday press conference, Governor Doria said he was shocked by the cops, whose behavior tarnished the integrity of the law enforcement force.
‘I want to make it clear that the State of São Paulo does not tolerate and will not tolerate any behavior that is violence practiced by the Military Police, the Civil Police, the Fire Department or any other police that is under the command of the State of São Paulo,’ Doria said.
‘It is unacceptable that few compromise many. In other words, condemnable actions by a few compromise an organization with more than 80,000 police officers and who do their job well.’
On June 22, Doria introduced a 20-day training program aimed at prevent the use of unnecessary force employed against civilians by ‘one percent of bad policemen’.
Starting in August, at least 2,000 police officers will have body cameras.
The announcement was made on the heels of a string of incidents in which cops were recorded on video using extreme force, including an incident in the São Paulo neighborhood Carapicuíba on June 21 when a police officer choked a 19-year-old man.