Police brutality remains ‘business as usual’ in Brazil, says report

Police brutality remains 'business as usual' in Brazil, says report

Episodes of police brutality have become common in Brazil. Photo: Guito Moreno/O Globo

Last Friday (January 12), Rio de Janeiro’s police launched a raid in the Jacarezinho and Arará favelas. They were looking for the criminals who murdered Fábio Monteiro, a 39-year-old police detective. His body was found on that very day, riddled with bullets, naked, and hidden inside the trunk of a car.

The raid ended with police taking some 40 people into custody for questioning. Men, women, and teenagers were put in a line, holding hands (some were cuffed to one another). The police later said that three of those people were arrested after police files showed multiple arrest orders against them. The rest were set free.

However, an image showing these young men and women in a humiliating situation (photo above) has sparked fury among human rights activists. During an interview with Nexo, sociologist Julita Lemgruber, from the Candido Mendes University, said that the image recalled the era of slavery. “The photograph is like those images of henchmen herding black slaves,” she told the website.

One week after the picture was taken, Human Rights Watch published its annual World Report, urging Brazilian authorities to take action against police brutality. The report points out that from January to September 2017, on-duty cops killed 494 people – a 19-percent rise from 2016. In Rio, things are even worse, with on-duty cops killing 1,035 people.

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About the author

Gustavo Ribeiro

An award-winning journalist with experience covering Brazilian politics and international affairs. His work has been featured across Brazilian and French media outlets.