Pandemic restriction on Rio police operations reduced deaths

Pandemic restriction on Rio police operations reduced deaths
Photo: Photocarioca/Shutterstock

A study by the Federal Fluminense University (UFF) in Rio de Janeiro shows that deaths caused by police action fell 34 percent after a Supreme Court injunction last June restricted police operations in Rio de Janeiro favelas for the duration of the pandemic. 

The decision, issued by Justice Edson Fachin, established that police operations may only take place in “exceptional circumstances,” which the police should justify in writing to the state’s top prosecution office.

According to the study, the number of police operations in 2020 was the lowest since records began in 2007: 320 against a yearly average of 808.

With the blessing of the federal government and the state governor, cops had taken a shoot-first-ask-later policy to new heights in Rio de Janeiro. In 2019 alone, 1,814 police killings were recorded, an all-time record. The Supreme Court restrictions helped make 2020 “the first year in which police lethality went down since 2013.”