A civil police officer in Rio de Janeiro was invited by a teacher to leave the court at the school where his son has been studying for eight years after parents of other students reported to the teacher that they were feeling uncomfortable with the presence of the public safety professional. The episode took place on May 29 at an educational institution in the Rio de Janeiro capital with Rafael Martins, who has been a police officer for ten years.
Despite being a civil police officer, who as a rule does not wear uniforms like military police officers, he was in police attire and with apparent weapons, since after leaving his son at home he would spend the night doing an extra shift in an operation to repress the theft of loads and vehicles.
After the incident, Martins recorded a video (see at the end of the article) describing the case without identifying the school and published it on his social networks to comment on a double pattern of behavior: in April, when there was great concern about attacks on students after the incident of episodes of violence in schools across the country, the presence of police around these institutions was in unprecedented demand. “Until a while ago, they wanted the police in the schools, and now that everything is fine, they are annoyed by our presence,” said the police officer. People’s Gazette.
In the video, which went viral on social media, Rafael Martins – who is the creator and presenter of the podcast Speak Warrior Castwhich aims to bring the police closer to the population – claims that the reaction of parents who asked for their removal is the result of a cultural war in which the image of the police is constantly attacked.
See the following interview with the police officer about the incident.
How did everything unfold until you left the place and what was your perception of this episode?
Rafael Martins: My son has been studying at this school for eight years. Everyone knows me there, and every day that there is a football school I leave the police station and arrive at the end to watch a few minutes. But this time I was equipped.
I was approached by the teacher, who was very kind and polite. I noticed that he was embarrassed, uncomfortable with that situation. He said that some parents were uncomfortable, uncomfortable with my presence, with the gun. He didn’t ask me to leave, but came to let me know that my presence was causing a nuisance. I don’t know if it was one, two or more parents who sought him out, but I didn’t want war with anyone and I decided to leave. When I left he came back trying to ease the situation. Indeed, he was the one sent to that thankless service.
On the way to the car, it came to my mind that a few weeks ago the schools were having those threats of attacks, and several had issued notices to parents saying that the children would be safe because the police would be at the school. I personally participated in an operation in a community to carry out the arrest of one of the young people who were fomenting those attacks.
I understand that the reaction of these parents is part of this culture war; It’s that thing that stays in the subconscious, because people speak badly about the police so much, some people have this negative image. But the idea of making the video was not to victimize me, but because I remembered that even with this negative image, back there they wanted our presence, and now that everything is fine, they are uncomfortable. And here fits a very common phrase that we say: “The police are the most uncomfortable presence and the most felt absence”.
It is a message for us to be aware of this cultural war, the content that our children access. In movies, when there’s a character of a policeman, it’s always a guy involved with crime, corruption, violence. Newspaper reports, when a police officer ends up neutralizing a criminal, often read like this: “Police kill young man”, or “Police kill suspect”. But the “young man” and the “suspect” had a rifle in their hands, exchanging fire with the police. And all this information unfortunately ends up influencing people’s way of thinking.
The school contacted Mr. after what happened?
Rafael Martins: Yes. Management called me, they asked me to go there. They held a meeting, apologized and said that this is not the school’s thinking, and that they support the work of the police. They also said that the teacher was in a tight skirt when the parents approached him.
I never exposed the school and was not upset. But I know that I would have colleagues who would have put their foot down and not come out. I didn’t want to create this situation, also because I was carrying the insignia of my institution with me. And in the end, my behavior caused a much greater commotion than if I had put my foot down and stayed, because then maybe I would be another police officer criticized and persecuted. Perhaps news stories would appear that “a policeman entered a school with a gun and refused to leave.” It would backfire on me.
But on the contrary, the video resonated very well. And the number of people reaching out to me with messages of support made it very clear that we are changing our country. There may have been two or three parents who were upset, but the vast majority are supportive. So much so that the school said it wanted the school closest to the police and invited me to give a talk to students about the police. This, in the end, brought something very positive.
Watch the video of the police action below: