Amnesty International: Rio de Janeiro police kill with impunity

Rio de Janeiro’s police force operates with “total impunity,” targeting mostly young, mostly black and mostly poor people, in the Olympic city’s violent slums, for extrajudicial executions, Amnesty International alleged in a report.

The group accuses Rio’s police of wielding an “unnecessary and disproportional use of force” and suggests racism has institutionalised killings by police.

It also says police cover up executions, either by labelling them “resistance killings”, in which victims allegedly die in gun battles with officers, or by planting weapons on corpses.

The report also criticises police oversight groups and the public prosecutor’s office, saying they fail to investigate such killings. “The police continue to regularly use force in an arbitrary, unnecessary and excessive manner, with total impunity,” the report’s executive summary said.

The report was based on an investigation into 10 police killings in 2014 and 2015, in the Rio slum of Acari.

Four of the victims were wounded or had surrendered before they were killed, four were fired on without warning, and another was fleeing.

Rio’s state security secretariat declined to comment on the report’s content, saying they had not seen the study’s methodology.

But the statement added that, since 2009, officers have cut down on lethality.


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