As 9 Are Killed in Brazil, Tweets Accuse Police of Vigilante Justice

John Lyons – The Wall Street Journal, 11/6/2014

Not long after the shooting started in Brazil’s impoverished port city of Belém on Tuesday night, locals began issuing dire warnings on social media: Off-duty police were seeking vigilante justice for the murder of one of their own.

By Wednesday morning, at least nine people were shot dead in the northern city of 1.4 million and authorities had opened an investigation into the killings and whether police were involved. As many panicked residents followed the killings on social-media accounts, police said they called a news conference to try to calm the city.

Officials cautioned that many of the reports published on Twitter , Facebook and the instant messaging service WhatsApp, including claims of dozens dead and photographs of alleged victims, were fabrications.

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