Fogo Cruzado, a research institute that tracks gun violence in Rio de Janeiro, reported 38 people have been killed in Jacarezinho in police raids since July 2016, accounting for 83% of all gun homicides in the region. Rio state police killed 1,239 people last year, an average of three per day, according to official data. Almost 80% of Brazilians killed by police in Rio are black and brown, although they only make up about half of the population.
“Yesterday, the civilian police sent a message: the law does not apply to them.”
Witnesses told The Intercept that at least some of the deaths were the result of police “executions” of unarmed individuals. A police official told media on Thursday that a policeman was killed and the other 24 dead were suspected drug traffickers. “To do an operation like this, there is a lot of planning and we follow a lot of protocols,” said Ronaldo Oliveira, the police chief responsible for the operation. “We follow certain police techniques and tactics to try to avoid confrontations and achieve our objectives. But that’s not always the end result. “
On Friday afternoon, Cecília Olliveira reported for El País that, of the 21 suspects targeted by the raid, only three had been arrested and three others had been killed. Police did not disclose whether any of the 13 identified victims who were not the target of the raid had a criminal record.
A similar dynamic could have unfolded this week, according to Pablo Nunes, coordinator of the Center for Studies on Public Security and Citizenship in Rio. The police “made it very clear that this was a revenge operation. The 27 deaths occurred after the policeman was shot. This is what the police are doing, and it is well documented, ”Nunes said Friday night, adding that the raid was“ disgusting ”and“ criminal ”.
“Since at least 2018, we have lived in a political climate of acceptance and even incitement to this type of behavior,” he said. The election of President Jair Bolsonaro and his allies at the national and local levels, Nunes added, has promoted “a culture of impunity” for police violence.
Video translated by Elias Bresnick.
Watch The Intercept Brasil video here, in Portuguese.