Opinion

Impunity is the norm amid Brazil’s epidemic of police killings

The death of pregnant 24-year-old Kathlen Romeu in Rio de Janeiro sparked public outcry, but people being killed at the hands of the police is worryingly common in Brazil — and often goes unpunished

police killings kathlen
Demonstrators in São Paulo ask for justice following the death of 24-year-old Kathlen Romeu. Photo: Ettore Chiereguini/Agif/Folhapress

Last week, 24-year-old Kathlen Romeu was shot and killed in a Rio de Janeiro favela. City authorities say she was struck in the torso by a stray bullet during confrontations between the police and drug gangs. She was pregnant with her first child and died on her way to hospital. The police have denied any responsibility for the deaths of Ms. Romeu and her baby, and they have opened three separate investigations related to their murders. 

Ms. Romeu is just the latest victim of police violence targeting Brazil’s favela residents. According to public security data portal Fogo Cruzado,...

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