HomeNewsBrief'Largest-Ever' Police Corruption Case Unfolds in Brazil's Rio de Janeiro
BRIEF

'Largest-Ever' Police Corruption Case Unfolds in Brazil's Rio de Janeiro

BRAZIL / 29 JUN 2017 BY TRISTAN CLAVEL EN

Brazil's state of Rio de Janeiro witnessed a massive operation aimed at capturing nearly 100 military police officers accused of criminal collusion, adding to a growing body of evidence suggesting that the state's militarized security policy is failing.

Authorities in Rio de Janeiro issued arrest orders for 96 current and former military police officers as well as 71 suspected drug traffickers, the state's Public Ministry said in a June 29 press release. Local media have described the efforts to secure their captures as the largest-ever operation targeting police corruption in Rio.

The officers -- all from Rio de Janeiro's 7th Military Police Battalion, which operates in the São Gonçalo municipality on the outskirts of the state capital -- are accused of accepting bribes in exchange for providing a variety of services to criminals, including protecting drug traffickers, providing them with weapons and even carrying out kidnappings on their behalf.

Corrupt elements from various units, including tactical, mobile and community policing units similar to those implemented in the city of Rio de Janeiro would carry out patrols from Thursday to Sunday solely to collect their criminal dues, authorities allege. The value of bribes reportedly surpassed 350,000 Brazilian reais per week (over $100,000).

InSight Crime Analysis

While the scale of the latest case may be unprecedented in Rio de Janeiro, corruption within the state's military police is nothing new. Moreover, police graft -- in addition to widespread brutality against civilians -- has sapped public confidence in law enforcement and contributed to the failure of the state's current militarized security policy.

An official survey ordered in 2013 by the Justice Ministry and the United Nations found the Rio state military police to be the most corrupt in the country. One prominent example of the criminalization of security forces in Rio is the "milicias," or militias, that have now developed into a major component of the local criminal underworld.

SEE ALSO: Brazil News and Profiles

The lastest case is further evidence that deploying militarized security forces to fight organized crime, a strategy that remains popular throughout the region, by no means reduces the chances for corruption. In fact, placing security officials with low-paid salaries -- who not only operate but often live in dangerous favelas -- on the front line of the fight against organized crime inherently creates an incentive for criminals with significant financial resources to attempt to co-opt or corrupt these officials, regardless (or perhaps because of) their substantial firepower and tactical know-how.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

HONDURAS / 4 DEC 2012

A new report shows 149 people have died at the hands of the Honduran police in the last 23 months,…

ARGENTINA / 2 FEB 2017

The security minister of Buenos Aires province has indicated that authorities plan to continue an ongoing effort to reform the…

HONDURAS / 30 SEP 2016

Honduras is looking to double its National Police within the next six years, an ambitious yet questionable plan given previous…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…