PSP “aggressor” risks eight years behind bars

As the shocking TV footage of PSP commander Filipe Silva attacking a father and grandfather in front of two children does the rounds now of the world’s media, stories here suggest that the policeman “could be sent to jail for eight years”.

It is an unlikely scenario, the father on whom Silva launched his vicious attack after Benfica’s championship victory match against Guimarães last Sunday has told Guimarães court.

But the criminal complaints put forward by José Magalhães and his father technically both carry maximum jail terms of four-years if Silva is found guilty.

Magalhães agreed yesterday that the controversial commander – described as having a reputation as a “tough-guy” – may not even get to court.

For the time being, he is still at his post heading up the PSP’s criminal division in Guimarães, while disciplinary investigations are underway.

As newspapers point out, he remains equipped with his service revolver and the police baton which he used on the father-of-two, to the shock of the hundreds of thousands of TV viewers on Sunday evening.

Meantime, others have come forward alleging mistreatment at the hands of Silva.

Shopkeeper Edgar Santos told Correio da Manhã last week that Silva “brutally attacked him” after the Guimarães-Braga football match that took place on April 17.

Santos had been walking past some Braga fans when a firework went off, he explained.

“A group of policemen came in my direction. When he (Silva) got to me, he started hitting me with his baton and handcuffed me. I told him I had done nothing, but he didn’t want to know.”

As CM explained, Santos was “bludgeoned in various parts of his body, including on the head”.

Diário de Notícias took up the story, saying when Santos arrived at the police station to lodge his complaint “it was necessary to call the firemen to give him medical attention”.

Like Magalhães, Santos is going ahead with a criminal complaint for aggression while he has also been made an official suspect in a police investigation.

Worse perhaps is the allegation by lawyer and former Futsal manager João Freitas who claims PSP aggression last year, after the football game between Vitória de Guimarães and Boavista, lost him the sight in his left eye. At the time his ‘beating’ led Boavista president João Loureiro to visit the injured man in hospital.

Freitas claims he was attacked “for insulting behaviour” but guarantees that he had “never insulted the police or done anything that could have justified the aggression”.

As with Magalhães, the police attack appears to have been linked to Freitas being in the “wrong part of the stadium”.

“One of the agents simply said that I could not be in that area,” he told CM.

It is a similar reason given by Silva in the “discussion” that preceded his attack on José Magalhães.

As to the attack on his 70-year-old father – punched violently twice in the head – Magalhães revealed the elderly man had “a moment of amnesia”.

“He said he had not been attacked,” the businessman explained. “But he has now recovered.”

Recovering too from the trauma of seeing armed police lay into their father are the two Magalhães sons aged nine and 13 – both of whom have had sessions with a psychologist.

Their father explained to reporters: “Of course, I told them straight away that there are good policemen and bad policemen”.

“It would have had to have been a very serious insult,” say PSP friends and neighbours

But as the nation’s media is full of the outrage, friends and neighbours of Filipe Silva have affirmed that “only a very grave insult” could have provoked his reaction.

“I have known him since he was little,” said one. “He has always been very firm and respectful.”

“Nice, amenable and correct” were other compliments.

Certainly, as far as newspapers are concerned, there have been no “apologies” received by the family, or indeed any other people complaining of police mistreatment.

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