PSP police are today analysing CCTV images after two deeply worrying incidents earlier in the week saw agents surrounded and incapable of restoring order.
The issues followed the dramatic deaths of three men, aged between 20-40, on the ‘Segundo Circular’ road in the early hours of last Friday morning.
The trio had been taking part in what newspapers describe as ‘an illegal race’.
The Mercedes they were in is understood to have been travelling at over 250 km/h before it overturned, careered into a concrete post, breached the central reservation and hurtled across the other side of the road, breaking up into pieces.
At the time of the crash the car was being followed by at least three motorcyclists who had filmed it travelling at speeds of around 300 km/h on the Vasco da Gama bridge.
The deaths clearly moved an entire community, which decided to hold an impromptu memorial late on Saturday night at the spot where the men died.
The gathering involved around 150 cars and as many as 500 people – and totally blocked the Segundo Circular.
When police moved in to try and disperse the crowd, people point-blank refused.
The same kind of hostility played out at the funeral on Tuesday.
Motorbike riders without helmets caused pandemonium – even entering the cemetery – revving loudly and racing up and down the rows of plots.
As reports explain, “after the disorder of Sunday, police authorities once again showed themselves to be incapable of restoring order”.
Said Correio da Manhã tabloid: “There are images of agents on their own forced to pull their service weapons to defend themselves”.
By the time reinforcements arrived, in the form of eight truck loads of police, the worst had passed- and the funeral cortège was able to proceed.
But the bottom line is a picture of crumbling ‘law and order’ in a neighbourhood already known for gang-related violence.
Thus, police now are trolling through all the CCTV images they can find in order to identify the troublemakers and start judicial proceedings.
Says CM, the owners of the cars involved in the impromptu memorial have been largely identified through images of the various vehicle licence plates, and a case for compromising road safety and illegal protest is now being drawn up by the Public Ministry.
But the real implications of the last few days are what concerns city police, many of whom have taken independently to the pages of social media “to question the proceedings of the PSP in the way it deals with similar cases”, says CM.