Photos the Brazilian Police Could Not Delete
At a recent demonstration in São Paulo, Vinicius Gomes' camera was run over by a police car. Luckily, another photographer was able to recover the pieces and found that the memory card miraculously still worked.
This article originally appeared on VICE Brazil
On August 31st, 2016, following the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff, Brazil's former vice president Michel Temer was sworn in as the country's new president. Predictably, that led to pro-Rousseff rallies in at least ten states, with some resulting in bloody clashes with the police.
Nineteen-year-old photographer Vinicius Gomes from São Paulo claims that he and his camera were also victims of police brutality that day. "A cop came up to me and, for seemingly no reason, without even saying a word, he began to beat me up," Gomes, a VICE Brazil freelance photographer reports. "I was hit in the head with a baton. That knocked me down, and even though I was not fighting back, the policemen kept thrashing me. Then they destroyed my camera and handcuffed me."
According to eye-witness reports, the assault took place around 9:30PM. Allegedly, one of the officers crushed Vinicius's camera with his foot and then, a police car drove over it. Gomes' head was bleeding when he was handcuffed and put in the same police car with another photographer, William Oliveira. They were both taken to a square nearby, where police moved them to another car and then took them to a police station.
At the station, Gomes asked if he could be taken to a hospital, as he was still bleeding a lot. According to him, the officers lingered before taking him to an ER. He was only seen by a doctor around midnight, and got four stitches in his head. Him and Oliveira were only allowed to leave at 5AM the next morning, on the 1st of September, 2016.
As their arrest unfolded, journalist Fernando Sato found what was left of Gomes' camera on the street. The memory card was all scratched up but still in the device. So Sato put the pieces in a plastic bag and gave it to another photographer, Ignacio Aronovich, that same night. Miraculously, the card still worked and Aronovich was able to recover the few photos the police had deleted.
"I don't want people to think of me as 'that photographer who got his ass kicked and his camera destroyed by the police.' I'm a crazy-ass photographer doing his thing, making GIFs and taking some pictures. I want people to remember my work. Let the photos speak for themselves," said Gomes to VICE Brazil.
Scroll down to see photos from that night.