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At least 25 dead during an attack by Brazilian police in Rio



Police targeting drug traffickers stormed a neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday, killing at least one police officer and two dozen others after the shooting, authorities said.

The press service of the civilian police confirmed the death of the cop and 24 alleged “criminals” in a statement to the Associated Press.

A police helicopter flew low over the Jacaresinho favela as heavily armed men fled from the police, jumping from roof to roof, according to images shown on local television.

Police got out of an armored car during an operation against alleged drug traffickers in the Jacarezinho favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Thursday, May 6, 2021.

Police got out of an armored car during an operation against alleged drug traffickers in the Jacarezinho favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Thursday, May 6, 2021.
(AP)

A woman told the Associated Press that she had seen police kill a badly wounded man, whom she described as helpless and unarmed, whom they found after he fled to her house.

Felipe Curie, a detective in the Rio civilian police, denied any executions. “There were no suspects killed. They were all traffickers or criminals who tried to take the lives of our police officers and there was no other alternative,” he told a news conference.

Police had to struggle to enter the favela because of specific barriers built by the criminals, according to the detective. The shooting spread throughout the community. During the operation, several people, whom Kuri describes as criminals, broke into neighboring houses, trying to hide. Six have been arrested, he said.

Police also seized 16 pistols, six rifles, a submachine gun, 12 grenades and a rifle.

Subway service has been suspended “due to intense gunfire in the region,” according to a statement from the company that operated it. Earlier, two subway passengers were injured when a stray bullet shattered the windshield of a car.

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Jacarezinho, one of the city’s most populous favelas, with about 40,000 inhabitants, is dominated by Comando Vermelho, one of Brazil’s leading criminal organizations. Police consider Jacaresinho to be one of the group’s headquarters.

Thursday’s operation was aimed at investigating the recruitment of teenagers to hijack trains and commit other crimes, police said in a statement.

A group of about 50 people in Jacaresinho poured into a narrow street on Thursday afternoon to follow members of the state legislature’s human rights committee as it conducted an inspection. They shouted “justice” as they clapped their hands, and some raised their right fists in the air.

Police conducted an operation against alleged drug traffickers in the Jacarezinho favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Thursday, May 6, 2021.

Police conducted an operation against alleged drug traffickers in the Jacarezinho favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Thursday, May 6, 2021.
(AP)

A statement from Human Rights Watch Brazil said the prosecutor should immediately investigate possible police abuses.

A police statement said the criminal gang had “a militant structure of soldiers equipped with rifles, grenades, bulletproof vests, pistols, camouflage clothing and other military accessories.”

Candido Mendes University’s Public Safety Observatory said at least 12 police operations in Rio this year have resulted in three or more deaths.

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Observatory director Sylvia Ramos said Thursday’s attack was among the deadliest in the city’s recent history.

Many appear to be violating a Brazilian Supreme Court ruling last year ordering police to suspend operations during a pandemic, limiting them to “absolutely exceptional” situations.

The Supreme Court declined to comment when asked by the Associated Press whether Thursday’s operation would meet the requirements.

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Rio police killed an average of more than five people a day in the first quarter of 2021, the deadliest start in a year since the state government began publishing such data more than two decades ago, according to the Observatory.


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