HomeNewsBriefRio Slum Pacification Police Accused of Torture, Murder
BRIEF

Rio Slum Pacification Police Accused of Torture, Murder

BRAZIL / 3 OCT 2013 BY MIRIAM WELLS EN

A group of ten Rio de Janeiro police officers have been charged with torturing and killing a favela resident, in a case that highlights ongoing concerns over the city's flagship slum pacification program.

Amarildo de Souza, a bricklayer from Rio's biggest slum town Rocinha, disappeared on July 14 when he was taken by four members of a Police Pacification Unit (UPP) doing a round-up of potential drug traffickers, reported The Guardian.

Souza, an epileptic, died during an interrogation session during which he was tortured, reported the BBC.

He was given electric shocks and suffocated with plastic bags, along with three other residents of the same community, reported Diario do Nordeste.

The ten officers charged are all part of Rocinha's UPP, and include the unit's commander, Edson dos Santos.

Prosecutors are examining the police report and are expected to ask a judge for the arrest of the accused.

InSight Crime Analysis

Rocinha's UPP was inaugurated last September, the biggest unit yet in the government's scheme to "pacify" the city's most violent slums one by one by taking over neighborhoods long controlled by drug traffickers and gangs. First, security forces move in, carrying out mass arrests and establishing control. Then a UPP trained in community policing is set up, intended to provide ongoing security and a permanent state presence. A total of 34 UPPs have been installed since November 2008 and the government plans to have 40 in place by 2014.

The first major study into the pacification program found it had significantly reduced violence in the favelas involved. However, serious concerns remain over several aspects of the program, not least the role of the police. As Souza's case illustrates, the Rio de Janeiro police are far from harbingers of peace and community spirit. The city's security forces have a long history of corruption and serious brutality, with on-duty police officers killing 7,611 people while between 2003 and 2009 according to official statistics cited by US NGO Human Rights Watch, and a history of misreporting such killings.

This is not the first time Rocinha's pacification has run into trouble. Its military occupying unit was accused of taking bribes from drug traffickers in 2012, and there have been reports of ongoing violence.

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.

Tags

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

BRAZIL / 20 FEB 2013

A Rio de Janeiro slum was on lock-down after local drug traffickers reportedly forced shops to close to mark the…

BRAZIL / 16 DEC 2016

A new report warns Latin America against believing it can remain above the fray of conflicts involving radical Islamic groups,…

BRAZIL / 17 SEP 2013

Brazil's authorities have launched an investigation after hackers stole, then published the personal details of 50,000 Rio de Janeiro…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…

THE ORGANIZATION

Coverage of Fallen Paraguay Prosecutor Makes Headlines

20 MAY 2022

The murder of leading anti-crime prosecutor, Marcelo Pecci, while on honeymoon in Colombia, has drawn attention to the evolution of organized crime in Paraguay. While 17 people have been arrested…