A Brazilian transgender woman has accused police of brutally beating her, shaving her head and stripping her of her clothes.
Veronica Bolina was arrested on April 12, accused of assaulting an elderly neighbor and attempted murder.
When photos of Bolina with her face disfigured appeared on social media in subsequent days, officials opened an investigation.
There are pictures of Bolina, allegedly during her arrest, with her shirt ripped off, her hands handcuffed behind her back and her feet chained together. There are also closeups of her face, allegedly taken at a later date, with both eyes swollen shut and her mouth swollen.
Sao Paulo city authorities responsible for gender issues interviewed Bolina on Friday. She told them she was assaulted by police on three different occasions. She also admitted to biting one of her jailers in the male detention center.
In initial interviews with police and other authorities, Bolina denied she was tortured by police, saying she attacked them. But she later said she had been coerced into making those statements with the promise of a lightened jail sentence.
The photos have outraged activists and prompted supporters to declare #SomosTodasVeronica or “We are all Veronica”.
Sao Paulo authorities say the public defender’s office is investigating the matter and working to ensure Bolina is permanently transferred to a detention center where she can have an individual cell and use women’s clothing.