HomeNewsBriefKillings by São Paulo Police Hit 10-Year High
BRIEF

Killings by São Paulo Police Hit 10-Year High

BRAZIL / 18 AUG 2015 BY ARRON DAUGHERTY EN

Killings by São Paulo state security forces are on the rise, once again highlighting police violence in Brazil and the culture which encourages it. 

Police in the southeastern Brazilian state killed 358 people during the first half of 2015, the highest figures in a decade, local newspaper Folha de São Paulo reported, citing figures from the state’s Public Security Secretary. 

The statistics follow reports of a series of murders, which some suspect of being carried out by police death squads. On August 13, at least 18 people were killed in São Paulo’s namesake capital city, in a series of shootings which took place over three hours. 

According to some witnesses, the assailants targeted people with criminal histories. Other reports said that bullet casings associated with ammunition used by security forces were found at the murder scenes. The mayor of one affected São Paulo suburb went so far as to say the killings may have been reprisals for the recent deaths of two police officers. 

InSight Crime Analysis

While more details have yet to emerge about the killings in São Paulo, it would not be outrageous to consider the possibility that police death squads were involved. A 2014 study found that São Paulo state military police have killed more than 10,000 people since 1995. There is also a strong precedent for off-duty police committing killings, and prior examples of police becoming embroiled in tit-for-tat assasinations with prison gang the First Capital Command (PCC). It remains to be seen whether the 18 murders in São Paulo will unleash a cycle of revenge killings between gangs and police, as previously seen in the city in 2012.

SEE ALSO:  Brazil News and Profiles

Brazil’s police have frequently been accused of fostering “a culture of violence” and failing to do enough to address the issue of brutal policing, as highlighted in a recent report by Amnesty International. Police reliance on use of excessive and illegal force has been blamed on the brutal training that recruits undergo. 

Compartir icon icon icon

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.

Related Content

BRAZIL / 8 OCT 2014

On average, São Paulo's prisons operate with 70 percent more inmates than the system can support. Some prisons operate at…

BRAZIL / 22 FEB 2012

A top human rights official in Brazil's government said that Congress should push through a bill which makes contract killings…

COCA / 4 JAN 2019

Presidential elections in the two countries at the heart of Latin America's drug trade both brought significant change in 2018:…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…