Outcry as cleverly-edited video clip shows ‘heavy handed PSP police’

Government opens inquiry – but furore looks ‘manicured’

The social media outcry over purportedly heavy-handed PSP agents ‘restraining’ a man in Lisbon’s Bairro Alto on Saturday afternonn may well have been orchestrated.

Explain reports this morning “two initial seconds of the video released over the weekend shows the man wielding two long objects that appear to be metal in front of the agents”.

“This moment has apparently been cut from the video, of 45 seconds, shared over the Internet”, says Expresso.

Thus the images of the two policemen wrestling the man to the ground, hitting him over the legs with their truncheons, and even restraining him with a knee to the head/ neck area had context.

The paper explains that when confronted by the agents, the man ‘dropped the two objects, which in falling to the ground made a noise that suggests they were made of metallic material”.

But this detail was missing from the clip most people have seen – and thus the ‘furore’ generated that Lisbon PSP agents were somehow being ‘heavy handed’/ thuggish, racist even (the suspect is black) in their handling of the situation.

José Falcão of SOS Racismo has told reporters that from the images he has seen, he did not think the man was acting in a particularly aggressive way.

The mere fact however that he was in possession of a ‘katana’ (a form of blade that is certainly not considered ‘legal’ to be carrying around), and apparently ‘attacking various people’ on Saturday afternoon is why police were called to the scene in the first place.

Authorities have since ‘opened an inquiry’ into the incident, while the man – albeit briefly arrested and transported to a local police station – has since been released.

natasha.donn@portugalresident.com