A policeman and 27 people were killed in the raid early Thursday, which authorities said was aimed at eradicating drug traffickers in Jacarezinho, a poor community in the city’s northern area.
It is the deadliest police operation ever carried out in Rio de Janeiro.
“Intelligence confirmed that the dead were drug traffickers. They shot officers, to kill. They were ordered to confront each other, ”Civil Police Chief Allan Turnowski told reporters.
Brazilian officials have identified the 48-year-old officer who died but none of the others killed in the operation – raising concerns from rights groups and residents who condemned police for using force excessive.
“The number of people killed in this police operation is reprehensible, as is the fact that once again this massacre took place in a favela,” Jurema Werneck, executive director of Amnesty International Brazil, said in a statement. communicated.
“Even if the victims were suspected of criminal association, which has not been proven, summary executions of this type are totally unjustifiable. The police have the power to arrest, but the courts have a duty to prosecute and try those suspected of having committed crimes. “
The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) also condemned the violence, saying it “fosters a long-standing trend of unnecessary and disproportionate use of force” by Brazilian police. in the favelas.
The favelas are home to poor, marginalized and predominantly Afro-Brazilian residents, OHCHR spokesman Rupert Colville said in a statement on Friday.
“We have received disturbing reports that after the events, the police failed to take steps to preserve evidence at the scene of the crime, which could hamper the investigation of this murderous operation,” he said. .
Colville urged Brazilian authorities to launch “an independent, thorough and impartial investigation” into what happened.
Brazil’s Supreme Court ruled last year banning most of these police actions during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has ravaged the South American nation and resulted in more than 400,000 deaths – the second highest in the world .