Killings by police up 18% this year in Rio
Police killed 517 people from January to September
Published in 21/10/2015 - 16:51 By Vitor Abdala reports from Agência Brasil - Rio de Janeiro
Deaths caused by the Rio de Janeiro police rose 18% this year from last year. Data released by the Public Security Institute (ISP) reveal that the police killed 517 people from January to September this year, 79 more than the same period in 2014.
Such cases are classified at police stations under “resisting arrest” (“auto de resistência”, in the original Portuguese), which means that the officer reports he/she acted in self-defense. Specialists believe the public security policy is to blame, which fuels the war between the police and criminals, with no concern for the origin of crime.
According to Samira Bueno, director at the Brazilian Public Security Forum, this war policy also takes its toll on the police themselves. From January to September this year, 21 police were killed in action in Rio de Janeiro state, five more than the same period last year.
“This is somehow part of the organizational culture in which confronting the criminal is seen as a means to curb crime,” she declared.
Samira Bueno maintains that this behavior has claimed a high number of victims. “If we do not think of a new model for public security, if we do not start bringing our drug policy back into discussion, we'll hardly become capable of ensuring the lives of our security agents,” she argued.
Death at the UPP
In May last year, Johnatha de Oliveira, 19, was killed by the police at the Police Pacifying Unit (UPP) in the Manguinhos district, north Rio. The officers claimed the youth was shooting at the police when he was killed. His family, however, said he was not bearing any weapons and had just left home when the police started shooting.
The young man's death was investigated and its perpetrators identified. Nonetheless, nearly a year and a half later, the case is still in its pre-trial stage. “I want the person who took my son's life to pay for it. My son had his whole life ahead of him. He had dreams that were taken away from him by a public security police for which there's no room for life in the favelas,” said Johnatha's mother Ana Paula Oliveira.
In a note, the state's Secretariat for Public Security announced that preservation of life is a priority, for which reason they have awarded members of battalions that have managed to reduce “lethal violence” levels, an indicator which takes into consideration homicides, theft followed by murder, body injuries followed by death, and also the cases filed under “resisting arrest”.
Also according to the government agency, a variety of steps have been taken in a bid to cut down the number of killings during confrontations, like using a lower number of rifles, the creation of the Training Center on the Progressive Use of Force, directed at police agents, and the Homicide Division, which probes into all deaths resulting from police intervention.
*Tâmara Freire, a reporter from Radiojornalismo, contributed to this article.
Translated by Fabrício Ferreira
Fonte: Killings by police up 18% this year in Rio
Edition: José Romildo / Nira Foster
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