Videos of a police operation show how Brazilian officers first put a man in the trunk of their car – and then threw tear gas inside. The man dies, the President defended the work of the police officers.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has defended the police after a man was killed in a traffic stop. “I regret what happened,” said the right-wing populist on Monday – but the highway police generally do “an extraordinary job”. Videos of the controversial police operation had previously caused a stir. Officials forced a suspect into the trunk of their car last week and threw a tear gas grenade after him. The man choked.

“Lower Impact Immobilization Techniques”

While the 38-year-old was screaming and desperately kicking around, the officers pushed on the door, from which thick smoke was pouring. When the man’s legs, which were still hanging out, went limp, the police pushed them into the trunk and closed the hatch.

The highway police had said the man, who apparently suffered from schizophrenia, had become “aggressive”. The officials then used “less impact immobilisation techniques.” The authority regretted the “incident” and announced “disciplinary proceedings” against the two police officers. These have since been suspended from service.

“Media always on the side of the criminals” – Bolsonaro

Bolsonaro promised “justice” on Monday. But the case should be dealt with “without exaggeration and without the pressure of the media, which always side with the criminals,” he added.

Bolsonaro is very close to the army and police. His opponent in October’s presidential election, former incumbent Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, had repeatedly denounced rampant police violence during the election campaign.