Brazil: Counterterror team at Confederations Cup

April 23, 2013

AP/ABC News, 04/22/2013

An officer in the Brazilian army’s counterterrorism division says about 600 soldiers will be taking part in security operations during the upcoming Confederations Cup.

The G1 news website quoted Col. Richard Fernandez Nunes on Monday as saying an additional 250 specialists in identifying threats from chemical, biological and nuclear threats will be also conducting sweeps during the June 15-30 football tournament.

The six Brazilian cities hosting Confederations Cup matches will each be assigned a counterterrorism team. Brazil is also hosting next year’s World Cup, and Nunes says all 12 of the tournament’s host cities will have such teams.

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Brazil safety concerns rise after arrest of police officers and gang rape on bus

April 4, 2013

Jonathan Watts – The Guardian, 04/02/2013

Brazil‘s efforts to improve public safety ahead of the football World Cup and the Olympics have taken two high-profile hits in recent days with the arrests of eight police officers in São Paulo and news of the rape and robbery of tourists in Rio de Janeiro.

The officers were arrested after a television broadcast showed two teenagers being shot dead on 16 March in the Bras neighbourhood of São Paulo, while the occupants of a nearby patrol car did nothing to help.

One of the victims – a 14 year old known as Piui who collected paper and cardboard from the streets – was shot six times. The other victim, whose name has not been disclosed, was shot 12 times.

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Brazil police can carry weapons for personal use

January 17, 2013

AP/ABC News, 01/16/2013

The Brazilian army has authorized law enforcement officers to carry heavy caliber weapons for personal use, a move critics say could lead to more gun-related violence.

Army spokesman Col. Nador Brandao said Wednesday that state, civilian and highway police officers will be able to buy the weapons to protect themselves. The army has jurisdiction over most law enforcement agencies in Brazil.

Ligia Rechenberg is the coordinator of the Sou da Paz, or “I am for Peace,” violence prevention group. She tells the O Globo newspaper that police will buy weapons “they don’t know how to handle and that puts them and the population at risk.”

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Brazil police banned from giving first aid to victims injured in violent crimes

January 10, 2013

Fox News/AP, 01/09/2012

Police in Brazil’s most populous state can no longer give first aid to victims injured in violent crimes or in shootouts with law enforcement officers.

Sao Paulo State Public Safety Department says in a statement posted on its website that as of Wednesday only emergency response teams and paramedics can provide treatment to victims at the scene of the crime or shootout with police.

Department head Fernando Grella Vieira said the state government enacted the measure “to safeguard the health of victims and guarantee the preservation of the crime scene for forensic investigations.”

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Brazil: states should act on killings by police

November 30, 2012

Human Rights Watch, 11/29/2012

A resolution by Brazil’s Human Rights Defense Council outlines crucial steps needed to reduce unlawful killings by police, Human Rights Watch said today. The resolution calls on law enforcement officials at the state level to ensure that all killings by their police forces are properly investigated.

The council, led by Human Rights Minister Maria do Rosário, issued the resolution on November 28, 2012, following a public consultation with government officials, public security experts, and civil society representatives.

“Police officers in many parts of Brazil face real difficulties and dangers when confronting violent crime, and many of them have lost their lives in the line of duty,” said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. “Unfortunately, their legitimate efforts to enforce the law have often been undermined by other officers who themselves engage in unlawful violence, executing people and falsely claiming their victims died in shootouts.”

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Alarm grows in Sao Paulo as more police officers are murdered

October 3, 2012

Simon Romero – The New York Times, 10/02/2012

The sun had just begun to rise here one morning in September as André Peres de Carvalho, an officer in a special-operations police squad, prepared to leave his home. Two masked gunmen lurking outside the door did their work quickly, killing him before disappearing by motorcycle into the crazy quilt of São Paulo’s sprawl.

He was one of more than 70 police officers killed this year in São Paulo, Brazil’s largest and most powerful state. The sharp increase in murders of police officers, up almost 40 percent since last year, has raised fears of a resurgence of the First Capital Command, a criminal organization that carried out a harrowing four-day uprising here in 2006 during which almost 200 people were killed.

São Paulo officials have tried to play down the suspected role of the criminal group in this year’s police killings, calling it a violent reaction by a variety of criminals to tougher policing strategies. But security analysts and some members of São Paulo’s own state police force have characterized the killings as deliberate reprisals by the gang, commonly referred to as the P.C.C., or Primeiro Comando da Capital in Portuguese.

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In rough slum, Brazil’s police try soft touch

October 12, 2010

Alexei Barrionuevo – New York Times, 10/10/2010

Leonardo Bento longed for vengeance after a policeman killed his brother five years ago. So when he heard that the new “peace police” force in the City of God slum was offering free karate classes, Mr. Bento signed up, hoping he would at least get to beat up the karate instructor.

But the unexpected happened. Eduardo da Silva, the police instructor, won him over with humor and a handshake. “I began to realize that the policeman in front of me was just a human being and not the monster I had imagined in my head,” Mr. Bento, 22, said.

Years of hate and mistrust are thawing in some of Rio’s most violent slums. Pushed to alleviate security concerns before the city’s double-billing on the international stage — the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games — Rio officials have embarked on an ambitious plan to wrest control of the slums, or favelas, from ruthless drug gangs who ruled for years with big guns and abject terror.

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