Brazil struggles to halt murders of Sao Paulo police

Brian Winter – Reuters, 11/07/2012

A policeman searches a motorcyclist at a checkpoint in Sao Paulo October 8, 2012. Credit: Reuters/Paulo Whitaker/Files

The murder of a female police officer in front of her daughter in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s biggest city and financial capital, has increased pressure on President Dilma Rousseff and local authorities to halt a drug-related crime wave in which dozens of police have died.

Marta Umbelina da Silva, 44, was opening the garage in her home Saturday night when two assailants shot her ten times in the back, throat and abdomen, police said. Her 11-year-old daughter screamed for help and Silva, a mother of three, was taken to a nearby hospital, but she could not be revived.

More than half of the 90 police murders this year in greater Sao Paulo have occurred in similar execution-style fashion.

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Alarm grows in Sao Paulo as more police officers are murdered

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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Minister criticizes Sao Paulo police for celebrating 1964 military coup

Mercopress, 09/01/2011

Former president Joao Goulart ousted by the military in March 1964.

In their internet portal the ‘Rota’ elite forces from the Sao Paulo police underscore their achievements in recent history and vindicate the 1964 coup.

“Revolution in 1964: when the force participated in the ousting of then president Joao Goulart, with the support of the people in the streets and the Armed Forces, giving light to the military regime of president Castelo Branco” reads the achievements calendar in the Police page of the Sao Paulo government.

However [Human Rights] Minister [María do Rosario] Nunes said her criticisms were not geared against Governor Geraldo Alckmin who belongs to the main opposition party, PDSB, Brazilian Social Democracy party.

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Brazil: Curb Police Violence in Rio, São Paulo Extrajudicial Killings Undermine Public Security

Human Rights Watch released a new report on police brutality in Brazil.

Click here to see the full report.

See their press release below:

Police officers in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo routinely resort to lethal force, often committing extrajudicial executions and exacerbating violence in both states, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

The 122-page report, “Lethal Force: Police Violence and Public Security in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo,” examined 51 cases in which police appeared to have executed alleged criminal suspects and then reported the victims had died in shootouts while resisting arrest.

Rio and São Paulo police together kill more than 1,000 people every year in such alleged confrontations. While some of these “resistance” killings by police are legitimate acts of self-defense, many others are extrajudicial executions, the report found. Continue reading “Brazil: Curb Police Violence in Rio, São Paulo Extrajudicial Killings Undermine Public Security”