21 Jun 2013

Image of Police Attack Against Lone Woman Goes Viral

A more widely-cropped version of the now viral photograph shows just how isolated the woman was she was attacked by officers in Rio de Janiero, Brazil Monday evening. (Photo: Victor Caivano)


A captured instance of brazen police brutality against a civilian has, once again, captured the attention of the global community. The shocking photograph of a lone woman being pepper sprayed at close range by Brazilian police has gone viral, drawing criticism and attention to the ongoing mass demonstrations in Brazil—at which the attack took place—and the chronic undercurrent of police violence that so often follows peaceful citizen uprisings.

New York Magazine’s Daily Intelligencer spoke with the photographer behind the image, Victor Caivano, who said that the attack happened at around 11:20 PM Monday evening, long after “the protest was over, riots included.” The woman appeared to be a “normal, middle-class university student,” he said, adding that she was standing alone on a “deserted corner” after the police had cleared the area.

He continued:
Three riot officers approached the woman and told her to leave. When she objected — the woman either questioned the order or insisted that she wasn’t doing anything wrong, Caivano recalls — she was pepper-sprayed. “This policeman just didn’t think twice,” Caivano says. The woman stumbled backward, “screaming and cursing.” She was detained and taken to a police van. Caivano says local reporters are now trying to track her down.