Officers charged for involvement in Rio’s “most lethal” raid

raid Protesters say the Jacarezinho operation "was not a raid, it was a massacre." Photo: Roberto Parizotti/FP
Protesters say the Jacarezinho operation “was not a raid, it was a massacre.” Photo: Roberto Parizotti/FP

State prosecutors in Rio de Janeiro pressed charges against two police officers involved in a May 6 operation which resulted in 28 deaths, including that of one law enforcement agent. The raid of the Jacarezinho favela is considered the “deadliest” in the city’s history — which is saying something considering the Rio de Janeiro police’s record. In 2019 alone, an all-time record 1,643 police killings were reported. 

Following the nine-hour raid, the police said the 27 residents who died were “all criminals.” Eyewitnesses, however, say many were shot point-blank after having given themselves up. Coroners’ reports also show multiple victims were shot in the back. 

The agents will face procedural fraud charges for having falsely reported the chain of events which resulted in the bloodshed. Prosecutors say they planted a grenade to simulate an attack that would justify the use of lethal force. 

More indictments are expected, as the state’s prosecution service chose to dismember the investigations against the 24 officers involved in the raid. The charges come just days after a military court reached an unprecedented verdict convicting eight Army officers who killed two black men in Rio de Janeiro two and a half years ago. The defendants confused the two victims with criminals and fired over 80 shots at them. 

The commanding officer in that case received the harsher sentence: 31 and a half years.