A mentally ill man died of asphyxiation after highway police officers allegedly forced him into a patrol vehicle and set off a smoke grenade in northeastern Brazil on Wednesday, May 25.

A series of shocking videos has sent shockwaves throughout Brazil as federal highway police officers were captured attempting to restrain 38-year-old Genivaldo de Jesus Santos near a dirt road in northeastern Brazil on Wednesday, May 25. The footage shows law enforcement allegedly forcing Santos into the trunk of a Federal Highway Police patrol SUV even as the individual attempted to push back against the officers' efforts, the Daily Beast reported.

The video clip reveals the police using the trunk of the vehicle to pin down the man's legs before proceeding to fill the vehicle with an unknown white smoke or gas. Santos, who was trapped inside the car, can be heard screaming after the alleged smoke grenade was set off. The officers are subsequently seen holding the man's legs down while the gas dissipated. After about a minute and a half, the man appears to stop moving. The cops allegedly forcibly held the trunk of the vehicle closed during most of the ordeal.

Santos reportedly died by the time police brought him to a hospital. According to Santos' nephew, who was also at the scene at the time of the attack, Santos, who suffers from schizophrenia, was unarmed when Federal Highway Police (PRF) allegedly fatally gassed him by the side of the road. The nephew claimed that Santos became nervous after officers found him in possession of medication packets during the encounter, the Washington Post reported.

“We told the police all the time that he had a heart problem, he had mental problems,” his nephew, Wallison de Jesus, said. “And they continued the torture, telling everyone to stay away.”

Federal Highway Police from the state of Sergipe released a statement following the incident and said that Santos "actively resisted" the officer's approach with "aggressiveness" and that law enforcement had to use "immobilization techniques and instruments of lower offensive potential" to contain him.

The police added that Santos "fell ill" while he was being transported back to the station and later died in the hospital.

Meanwhile, Sergipe's coroner's office who conducted an autopsy on Santos' body revealed that the victim died of asphyxiation. However, the officials added that "it was not possible to establish the immediate cause" of his death and added that they would conduct further exams to establish "how the asphyxia process took place."

Meanwhile, the Federal Highway Police said that they would cooperate with investigating authorities and that they had already suspended the officers involved in the incident.

The video sent shockwaves all across Brazil and protests were held in the Brazilian city of Umbauba on Thursday.

This is a representational image. geralt/Pixabay

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