Over a week since he became a Public Enemy No. 1 in Portugal after brutally attacking a father and grandfather in front of two horrified children, PSP commander Filipe Silva is to go before his superiors and discover whether or not he still has a job.
According to some press reports, Silva is supported by “almost unanimous solidarity” among fellow agents – but this may not help him at all after the national and international condemnation that his attack elicited throughout last week.
Shown almost everywhere in the world, the horrific clip of the beating Silva gave two football supporters, in front of their children/grandchildren, has shone the worst possible spotlight on Portugal’s PSP police.
A Facebook page calling for Silva’s dismissal from the force has received more than 15,000 subscribers – while a page set up in his defence has been clicked with 2,500 “likes”.
But the real test comes today, when PSP district command meets in Braga to decide Silva’s future.
As national tabloid Correio da Manhã has explained, Silva could be sent to jail for a maximum of eight years if a judge finds him guilty of the two crimes lodged against him by last week’s alleged victims.
And since the attack on José Magalhães and his 70-year-old father outside Guimarães stadium, another football fan has come forward alleging similar brutality at the hands of Silva and claiming he too will be going ahead with a criminal complaint.
Braga police commanders will not be deciding either way on the criminal issues. Instead, they will assess the result of disciplinary inquiries led by both the Ministry of Internal Administration and the PSP itself.
Since the furore, which Silva is reported to have justified on the basis that José Magalhães spat in his face, the police commander is understood to have told colleagues that he “overreacted”.
As the world saw last week, José Magalhães and his father were looking after José’s children Gonçalo, 9, and Tomás, 13, after escaping from the scrum of supporters “held” inside the stadium after the game when something Magalhães must have said led Silva to literally hurl himself on the man, punching him and then turning to violently punch his father, who had moved to try and help his son.
As the father disappears out of the frame with Silva’s second punch, the police chief then runs back to where José Magalhães is lying and whips out his police baton to start hitting him.
The visibly-traumatised children are held out of harm’s way by other policemen.
Happily, as José Magalhães embarks on criminal prosecution, his children had a dream experience on Sunday when they were invited to take part in Benfica’s celebrations over their 34th title victory.
Both boys were kitted out in team shirts and treated like VIPs as they accompanied Benfica president Luís Filipe Vieira and presented the huge trophy to the winning team.