Rio: Federal Prosecutor Will Look Into Cop Conduct


Above: Globo’s Fantástico rides along with the caveirão in “a war without truce in a Rio de Janeiro besieged by the drug traffic.”

Ministério Público vai investigar denúncias de abuso de autoridade da PM em favelas do Rio (Agência Brasil): The Brazilian federal news agency reports on a state-federal delegation to the Complexo do Alemão, scene of the latest in a series of invasions by the BOPE special operations battalion of the Rio military police this month.

Rio de Janeiro – O sub-procurador geral de Justiça do Rio de Janeiro, Leonardo Chaves, e o presidente da Comissão dos Direitos Humanos da Assembléia Legislativa do estado, deputado Alessandro Molon (PT), foram hoje (23) à Vila Cruzeiro ouvir pessoalmente as queixas dos moradores.

Deputy federal attorney for Rio de Janeiro Leonardo Chaves and the president of the state assembly’s human rights committee, Alessandro Molon (PT) went to the Vila Cruzeiro to personally hear the complaints of residents.

See Rio: BOPE in the Vila Cruzeiro for recent newsflow.

A comunidade é uma das que formam o Complexo do Alemão, cercado há 21 dias. O confronto entre polícia e traficantes já deixou pelo menos 15 mortos e 55 feridos. Apenas hoje, mais duas pessoas foram vítimas de ferimentos por balas perdidas na região.

The community is one of the shantytowns that make up the Complexo do Alemão, besieged now for 21 days. The confrontation between police and drug gangs has killed at least 15 and wounded 55. Just today, another two persons were wounded by stray bullets in the region.

See also Bala Perdida: A Letter from Olaria.

“Está todo mundo em pânico, não temos mais sossego e nem podemos sair para lugar algum”, contou a dona-de-casa Edna Maria dos Santos. “Não temos mais lazer, só ficamos dentro de casa. Se vai ao mercado, tem que voltar correndo. Isso não é vida. Não é porque a gente mora na favela que temos que ser abandonados e desprezados”.

“Everyone’s in a panic, we have no peace and we can’t go anywhere,” said housewife Enda Maria dos Santos. “We have no leisure anymore, we just stay inside. If you go to the market, you have to go running. This is not life. Just because we live in the shantytown does not mean that we have to be abandoned and despised.”

The commandant of the state PMs, Col. Ângelo, said at a recent press conference that drug gangs were stimulating community protests and complaints. Which strikes me as likely to be an instance of the “infinite guile of the criminal supergenius” theory, but I can’t be sure.

A reunião com o sub-procurador e o deputado estadual contou com a participação de 22 líderes comunitários. Foi realizada em um centro esportivo localizado na Vila Crizeiro. Nas casas em volta da comunidade, eram visíveis as marcas de tiros em paredes, portas e muros.

The federal attorney and the state deputy met with 22 community leaders and was held at a sports center in the Vila Cruzeiro. In the surrounding houses, bullet holes were visible in walls, doors and the sides of houses.

Os moradores dizem que a polícia é autora dos disparos. Segundo eles, os policiais do Batalhão de Operações Especiais (Bope) – que conduzem o veículo blindado popularmente conhecido como ‘Caveirão’ – disparam grandes quantidades de tiros, que acabam atingindo as casas e o comércio local.

Residents say police fired the shots. According to them, BOPE agents — who drive the armored vehicle known as the “Big Skull” — fire great quantities of shots that end up hitting homes and local businesses.

O sub-procurador disse que vai investigar o procedimento dos policiais. “Se estiverem fazendo isso e o fato for procedente, vamos agir com rigor em defesa do estado democrático de direito. Não vamos tolerar e conviver com este tipo de abuso, se é que ele existe”.

The federal attorney said he will investigate police procedures. “If they are doing this and it is proved, we will act rigorously to defend the rule of law. We are not going to tolerate this type of abuse, if it exists.”

The question is what form “not tolerating this abuse” might take.

Federal police? Will forensic experts be able to do their work for a change?

Col. Ângelo also recently rebutted charges of indiscriminate fire:

The military police commander maintains that the high number of persons struck by stray rounds has not been due to errors by his men, but to the fact that the traffickers are deliberately firing at innocents to cause a commotion. According to Ângelo, reports from residents and also “technical aspects,” such as the distance from which the shot was fired, corroborate his theory. Other police sources argue that the practice is not new, but is only now gaining notoriety.

No one has published hard information the “technical aspects” in question yet, that I know of.

Or the FNSP, perhaps? About 900 of the specially trained ministry of justice carabinieri are now in Rio, part of a scheduled buildup leading to the Pan-American Games next month.

See also “Force Tabajara” Rides Into Rio.

The FNSP command has just been changed; a Rio PM colonel will head it during the Games. See Haiti Não É Aqui: Cabral on Port au Prince and Rio.

Col. Ferreira, who entered the PM in 1972, had commanded GETAM — the Special Mobile Tactical Group, which operated in the last occupation of the Complexo Alemão — and the Forest Police, patrolling the Floresta de Tijuca.

For recent news on policing in the Floresta, see Rio: The Tourist Battalion Rips Off Giant Suffering Jesus!

A assessoria de comunicação da Polícia Militar (PM) rebateu as acusações dos moradores. Afirmou que o Bope é formado por uma tropa de elite treinada para não disparar a esmo, procedimento que, segundo a PM, é característico dos traficantes.

The PM press office rejected the accusations of the residents. It said that BOPE is made up of elite troopers trained not to fire at random, a procedure, the PM says, that is typical of traffickers.

Of course, the 16th BPM was on these operations as well.

We only just recently saw television news footage of a member of the 16th BPM standing in the middle of the street, in Catumbi, firing on full rock ‘n’ roll up into the hillside shantytown of Morro da Mineira.

Suppressing fire, I think it’s called.

On the (unresolved) aftermath of that incident, see also Rio de Janeiro: Did Military Police Free Mineira Marauder? and “No One Dead is Innocent”: Virgina Tech and Catumbi.

The honed to a razor’s edge PM has also said it is not capable of properly investigating militia membership among its personnel.

See “Difficult to Investigate Rio Militias”: Military Police.

Localizado na zona Norte do Rio, o Complexo do Alemão tem 65 mil habitantes e reúne 13 favelas: Morro Alemão, Grota, Nova Brasília, Alvorada, Alto Florestal, Itararé, Morro Baiana, Morro Mineiro, Morro da Esperança, Joaquim de Queiroz, Vila Cruzeiro, Morro das Palmeiras e Morro do Adeus. A área é compreendida por cinco bairros: Inhaúma, Bonsucesso, Ramos, Olaria e Penha.

Located in the northern zone of the city, the Complexo has 65,000 residents and comprises 13 shantytowns: Morro Alemão, Grota, Nova Brasília, Alvorada, Alto Florestal, Itararé, Morro Baiana, Morro Mineiro, Morro da Esperança, Joaquim de Queiroz, Vila Cruzeiro, Morro das Palmeiras and Morro do Adeus. It is surrounded by five formal residential districts: Inhaúma, Bonsucesso, Ramos, Olaria and Penha.

As operações policiais no Complexo do Alemão começaram no dia 2 de maio, um dia depois do assassinato de dois PMs dentro de uma viatura, em Oswaldo Cruz.

Police operations in the area commenced on May 2, one day after the murder of two PMs inside a squad car in Oswaldo Cruz.

The image “https://i2.wp.com/www.ovp-sp.org/artes/figura_caveirao.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
“We kill to create a better world” is the semi-official motto of Rio’s BOPE. Rescuing kittens from trees? Issuing traffic citations? Busting retail customers of Brizola-Mart? Not in the job description.

“We kill to create a better world”: A documentary on BOPE and the 16th BPM, censored in Brazil, is the first part of the following NMM-TV Zeitgeist newsreel. Observe, again, the use of suppressing fire in densely inhabited areas.

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