Graphic images have emerged of a badly beaten transgender prisoner amid reports police ‘pulverized’ her face, forced her to strip and shaved her head.
Pictures show Veronica Bolina lying partially naked on the ground in front of a group of officers and other prisoners in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
The 25-year-old had previously been arrested over an alleged attack on her 73-year-old neighbour.
But an investigation is now underway amid reports she was set upon by officers on three different occasions after being taken into custody, leaving her face unrecognizable.
Pictures appearing to show her ordeal were leaked online and have sparked outrage across Brazil.
An official police statement claimed Bolina was attacked by prisoners when she was seen performing a sex act on herself in her cell and that officers were forced to intervene.
It added that the injuries were the result of a struggle in which, police claim, she bit an officer on the ear.
The photos of her badly swollen eyes and mouth have been widely shared on the internet with outraged supporters setting up campaign groups on the internet demanding the right for LGBT people to be treated fairly.
One supporter, Susane Montalvo Sarabia, said: ‘It is just sickening that in this day and age such things as this still happen.
‘They have pulverized that poor woman’s face and are now trying to cover it up. Whether she is innocent, guilty, transgender or straight doesn’t matter.
‘The police should not be allowed to do this to anyone.’
Authorities in Sao Paulo say they are now investigating the matter.
A spokesman for the prosecutors office said she had been moved to a detention center where she has an individual cell until the court case.
HE VIOLENT SHAME OF BRAZILIAN POLICE OFFICERS
Brazilian police officers kill on average six people every day according to the Sao Paulo-based Forum on Public Safety.
The NGO collated figures between 2009 and 2013 which showed police killed more than 11,000 people.
In comparison, police and law enforcement officers in the United States took 30 years to kill 11,000 people.
According to a report released by the organization: ‘The empirical evidence shows that Brazilian police make abusive use of lethal force to respond to crime and violence.’
However, Brazil is an incredibly violent country with one murder approximately every ten minutes.
Many of those killed by Brazilian police are recorded as being shot ‘while evading arrest’.