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25 Dead After Shootout in Brazil During a Police Raid

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RIO DE JANEIRO — A police operation concentrating on drug sellers in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday morning left no less than 25 individuals lifeless, together with a police officer, in an operation that officers and human rights activists referred to as the deadliest in town’s historical past.

The gun battle in Jacarezinho, a poor and working-class district managed by the drug gang referred to as Comando Vermelho, or Red Command, additionally wounded no less than two subway passengers who have been struck as their prepare was caught in the crossfire.

Residents and human rights activists accused the police of utilizing extreme drive and questioned why the operation was launched in any respect, given a Supreme Court ban on legislation enforcement raids in town through the pandemic.

Nadine Borges, vice chairman of the human rights fee at Brazil’s bar affiliation, mentioned a group of attorneys gathering info had heard chilling preliminary accounts.

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“There were executions of people who had already surrendered,” she mentioned. “It was absolute barbarism.”

Jurema Werneck, the chief director of Amnesty International Brazil, described the police operation because the deadliest to have occurred in Rio de Janeiro. “This is unprecedented,” she mentioned.

Police commanders mentioned the shootout started at 6 a.m. when officers who had arrived to serve arrest warrants have been fired upon. One officer, André Leonardo de Mello Frias, was fatally shot in the top, they mentioned.

“There were no executions, but rather a reaction to an assault,” mentioned Roberto Cardoso, a police commander.

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Another commander, Felipe Curi, mentioned the warrants have been the results of a 10-month investigation into drug gangs’ recruitment of minors. He referred to as the police division a “guarantor of rights” working to free individuals from “the dictatorship of trafficking.”

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Police operations in Rio de Janeiro are among the many most deadly in the world: In 2019, no less than 1,810 individuals have been killed by the police in Rio de Janeiro state, a record high. Officers are seldom topic to prison investigation or prosecution.

Gun battles between the police and gang members in Rio de Janeiro are routine. Heavily armed traffickers act because the de facto authority in huge areas of town, together with Jacarezinho, the place medication are bought in plain sight.

Elected officers who’ve been crucial of the police denounced Thursday’s raid.

“The slaughter in Jacarezinho is a typical example of the barbarities that happen in favelas in Rio,” Talíria Petrone, a federal lawmaker from Rio de Janeiro, mentioned in a assertion. “It’s the state doing the minimum to guarantee rights and doing the maximum to repress and kill.”

A Supreme Court justice final June banned routine police operations in Rio de Janeiro through the pandemic. The justice, Edson Fachin, mentioned the police might perform solely these operations thought-about “absolutely exceptional.”

Joel Luiz Costa, a lawyer from Jacarezinho, mentioned he visited a number of properties in which individuals have been killed on Thursday and noticed proof that residents had been executed.

“This is cruel. This is barbaric,” he mentioned in a video posted on Twitter. “Did it end drug trafficking because 25 people were killed? Will this end drug trafficking?”

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The operation in Jacarezinho was undertaken lower than a week after the brand new governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro, Cláudio Castro, took office. Governor Castro, whose predecessor, Wilson Witzel, was impeached on corruption fees, mentioned preventing crime was amongst his highest priorities.

“I am committed to reducing the rates of violence,” he said during his swearing in ceremony on Saturday.

Rodrigo Oliveira, a deputy police chief, mentioned his officers had carried out themselves lawfully.

“The only execution that took place was that of the police officer,” he mentioned. “The other deaths that occurred were those of traffickers who attacked the police and were neutralized.”