RIO DE JANEIRO — A police operation focusing on drug sellers in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday morning left no less than 25 individuals lifeless, together with a police officer, in an operation that officers and human rights activists referred to as the deadliest within the metropolis’s historical past.
The gun battle in Jacarezinho, a poor and working-class district managed by the drug gang generally known as Comando Vermelho, or Pink Command, additionally wounded no less than two subway passengers who had been struck as their practice was caught within the crossfire.
Residents and human rights activists accused the police of utilizing extreme power and questioned why the operation was launched in any respect, given a Supreme Court docket ban on regulation enforcement raids within the metropolis in the course of the pandemic.
Nadine Borges, vp of the human rights fee at Brazil’s bar affiliation, stated a crew of legal professionals gathering information had heard chilling preliminary accounts.
“There have been executions of people that had already surrendered,” she stated. “It was absolute barbarism.”
Jurema Werneck, the chief director of Amnesty Worldwide Brazil, described the police operation because the deadliest to have occurred in Rio de Janeiro. “That is unprecedented,” she stated.
Police commanders stated the shootout started at 6 a.m. when officers who had arrived to serve arrest warrants had been fired upon. One officer, André Leonardo de Mello Frias, was fatally shot within the head, they stated.
“There have been no executions, however moderately a response to an assault,” stated Roberto Cardoso, a police commander.
One other commander, Felipe Curi, stated the warrants had been the results of a 10-month investigation into drug gangs’ recruitment of minors. He referred to as the police division a “guarantor of rights” working to free individuals from “the dictatorship of trafficking.”
Police operations in Rio de Janeiro are among the many most deadly on the planet: In 2019, no less than 1,810 individuals had been killed by the police in Rio de Janeiro state, a document excessive. Officers are seldom topic to prison investigation or prosecution.
Gun battles between the police and gang members in Rio de Janeiro are routine. Closely armed traffickers act because the de facto authority in huge areas of the town, together with Jacarezinho, the place medication are offered in plain sight.
Elected officers who’ve been essential of the police denounced Thursday’s raid.
“The slaughter in Jacarezinho is a typical instance of the barbarities that occur in favelas in Rio,” Talíria Petrone, a federal lawmaker from Rio de Janeiro, stated in an announcement. “It’s the state doing the minimal to ensure rights and doing the utmost to repress and kill.”
A Supreme Court docket justice final June banned routine police operations in Rio de Janeiro in the course of the pandemic. The justice, Edson Fachin, stated the police might perform solely these operations thought of “completely distinctive.”
Joel Luiz Costa, a lawyer from Jacarezinho, stated he visited a number of houses by which individuals had been killed on Thursday and noticed proof that residents had been executed.
“That is merciless. That is barbaric,” he stated in a video posted on Twitter. “Did it finish drug trafficking as a result of 25 individuals had been killed? Will this finish drug trafficking?”
The operation in Jacarezinho was undertaken lower than per week after the brand new governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro, Cláudio Castro, took workplace. Governor Castro, whose predecessor, Wilson Witzel, was impeached on corruption fees, stated preventing crime was amongst his highest priorities.
“I’m dedicated to lowering the charges of violence,” he stated throughout his swearing in ceremony on Saturday.
Rodrigo Oliveira, the police chief, stated his officers had carried out themselves lawfully.
“The one execution that came about was that of the police officer,” he stated. “The opposite deaths that occurred had been these of traffickers who attacked the police and had been neutralized.”