Journalist Glenn Greenwald says that no less than five men robbed him at gunpoint during a home invasion in March.
What are the details?
In a lengthy
essay, Greenwald revealed that he was alone at a Rio de Janeiro-area farm he and his family were renting when the harrowing incident took place.
Greenwald, who is married to Brazilian politician David Michael Miranda, said that his husband and their two children were not at the farm when the purported robbery took place.
“I’ve begun my day for the last five months by feeding the chickens, rabbits, ducks, swans and peacocks that are there: a perfect way to connect to farming life,” he wrote. “My husband and our two children had spent the week in Rio because the kids had school entrance exams that required a faster internet connection than is available at the farm. Because March 5 was the day before my birthday, they had all planned to come to the farm that day, but decided at the last second that they would come early the next morning instead.”
That evening, he recalled, he was at the farm with an off-duty police officer working security for Greenwald and his family.
“At roughly 9:30 p.m. that night, I was speaking with a friend on the telephone when I noticed that our dogs — twelve of whom were at the farm, with the rest at home — were barking incessantly and intensely for a sustained period of time, which is unusual,” he continued. “I ended the call to see why they were so agitated and walked out of the house toward the gate where I heard them.”
Greenwald explained that within seconds, three suspects wearing black masks and pointing guns swarmed him.
“They told me to walk toward a small stand-alone room near the house and began pushing me to go faster,” he explained. “Soon as I entered, I saw that two other armed men had detained the security guard, the off-duty cop, and had him laying face-down on the floor as they stood over him with guns pointed at his head.”
Greenwald said he first suspected he was victim of a targeted political attack due to threats he said he’d been receiving.
“I was relieved, to the extent one can be in such a situation, when they began demanding money,” he said. “Because most of what we have has remained in our home, I did not have much of value there: a couple hundred dollars, some kitchen appliances, and clothes for ourselves and our kids. They did not believe that, which drove them to a considerable amount of anger.”
It got worse from there.
Keeping him tied up for at least an hour, the suspects reportedly grilled him over whether there were more valuables at the farm.
“Driven by the belief that I was hiding valuables — refusing to believe my assurances that I would not do that with five men pointing guns at me — they attempted various forms of psychological terror,” Greenwald recalled. “They repeatedly threatened to shoot the police officer in the head, repeatedly kicked him so hard that they cracked several of his ribs, ordered me to open my mouth and stuck a gun in it as they demanded to know where the rest of the money was, smashed my phone and tablet against a wall when they could not figure out how to erase the hard-drive, and just generally tried to create a climate of extreme fear. Most of the hour was spent with them ransacking every part of the farm, including our kids’ rooms.”
Greenwald said that when they were satisfied that there were no more valuables with which to abscond, they demanded his car keys.
“They then ordered both of us to go to a separate small house near the back of the farm,” he wrote. “They put us in a room, used cords to tie our arms behind our backs and bound our legs together, then locked the door. Once we heard the car leave, we worked on freeing ourselves, which took roughly fifteen minutes, and then used the computer they had idiotically left to call my husband and the other police officers who work with us at the farm.”
Greenwald said that police were able to quickly identify the suspects after they made several missteps, including using a car registered to his husband, a member of Congress, and more.
“Between the five of them, they stole … no more than two thousand dollars worth of value: a small amount of cash, a microwave, kitchen appliances and even food such as large packs of rice and beans,” he wrote. “The most valuable item they took was the police officer’s gun.”
It took three weeks for the officer — who is now on psychiatric leave from the force — to recover physically from the attack.