Dandara dos Santos, a 42-year-old transgender woman, was tortured, bludgeoned with a large stone, and shot during a horrific murder in Fortaleza, Brazil. Horrific cell phone video of the crime circulating on YouTube (Warning: It’s graphic and upsetting) and other social media showed a bloodied dos Santos being kicked, brutally beaten with a plank of wood, and forced into a wheelbarrow before being carted off by multiple assailants. Authorities said the attackers then brought her to a nearby street, shot her twice in the face, and bludgeoned her to death.
Camilo Santana, the governor of Ceará, the northeastern state in which the brutal murder took place, condemned the attack in a Facebook post on Saturday.
“Every and any attack on life has my deepest repudiation,” wrote Santana.
Police have likewise condemned the crime, but according to Rede Trans, a Brazilian website that monitors attacks on transgender people, police would have cared little had the murder not been documented on camera and distributed on social media.
“The repercussions only came after the video was released,” noted Sayonara Nogueira, a transgender woman who serves as Rede Tran’s coordinator. “If not, it would have another crime that would have been ignored.”
In 2008, when the site first began tracking violence against transgender people, 57 murders of transgender people occurred in Brazil. Nearly eight years later, the numbers had almost tripled — a record 144 transgender people were murdered in 2016.
Maria da Silva, a transgender woman, lawyer, and activist, said that Brazilian society viewed transgender individuals with contempt — a point illustrated by the popularity of far-right figures such as Jair Bolsonaro, a lawmaker best known for his anti-gay views and for having repeatedly told a fellow lawmaker she was unworthy of being raped by him.
Three teenagers and two men have been arrested in connection with the torture and killing, but police say they are still searching for others.
Read the full story at The New York Times.