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Military police lieutenant turns on cameraman filming police attack on voters

(ABRAJI/IFEX) - After a month-long investigative effort, the Bahia State Military Police has confirmed the aggression perpetrated by Lieutenant Marcelo Moura against a Bahian television team. According to a source from the police's Social Communication Department, Moura, who was suspended after the incident, is waiting for his punishment to be established by a military court of law.

"Administrative punishments can go as far as to the firing of a public servant", stated Deveraldo de Carvalho Melo, head of the Social Communication Department and also a magistrate.

The incident occurred during the first day for casting ballots in the municipal elections, on 5 October 2008. A newswoman and a cameraman working for TV Educativa (TVE), a subsidiary of the Bahia State Culture Department, were reporting on the voting in a neighborhood on the outskirts of Bahia State's capital city, Salvador. When they heard a noise that sounded like a gunshot, they drove their television station vehicle to the place the noise seemed to be coming from.

According to TVE Newscasts Supervisor Cíntia Campos, the cameraman filmed a group of policemen attacking voters who supposedly were campaigning, which is forbidden during the voting. When Lieutenant Moura noticed the confrontation was being recorded, he demanded that the tape be destroyed. While the cameraman was trying to talk the matter over with him, the lieutenant threw his equipment on the pavement and shot six bullets into the camera.

The cameraman filed a complaint with the Fifth Precinct of the Salvador Civilian Police.

The Military Police Social Communication Department issued a public statement about the incident, stating that the Military Police "abhors and rebuffs the perpetration of any act involving despotism against press professionals in their line of work, especially when performed upon them by those who have the institutional duty of law enforcement."

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