HomeNewsBriefSão Paulo Measure Seeks to Limit Police Brutality, Killings
BRIEF

São Paulo Measure Seeks to Limit Police Brutality, Killings

BRAZIL / 9 JAN 2013 BY ELYSSA PACHICO EN

São Paulo passed a resolution that bans police from taking crime scene victims to the ER, an effort to rein in cops who execute alleged criminals and then report them as killed while "resisting" arrest. 

The resolution applies to São Paulo state, Brazil's most populous, and went into effect January 8, as Folha reports. Under its terms, police cannot remove an injured victim from a crime scene. Only the emergency response service, known by its acronym SAMU, may do so. 

It is not clear whether police are allowed to provide emergency first aid to victims while waiting for SAMU to arrive. However, the resolution does state that the emergency team can provide instructions on applying first aid via telephone, before arriving at the crime scene. 

In a more symbolic move, the measure also changes the term used to refer to police killings. Instead of "resistance" killings, they will now be known as killings incurred during "police intervention." 

InSight Crime Analysis

The new policy appears well-justified and has been well-received. São Paulo's Secretary of Public Security said the measure will make it more difficult for police to tamper with crime scenes. Brazil's police have been frequently accused of covering up evidence during reported shootings, in order to make it look as though the victim was killed while resisting arrest.

As Washington-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) has documented, together São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro police kill more than 1,000 people a year in "resistance" killings. 

HRW praised the new resolution, pointing out there have also been several documented cases in which police pretend to rescue people injured during shoot-outs, then actually execute them.

"The new rule will make it harder for these officers to cover up their crimes by pretending to rescue their victims before forensic investigators arrive," the organization's Americas director, Jose Miguel Vivanco, said in a statement.  

Unsurprisingly, São Paulo police have complained about the measure, stating that it casts unwarranted suspicion on the police and could make them liable for failing to save those severely injured. SAMU has said that it takes less than ten minutes to respond to an emergency call, but this response time could be longer in smaller towns outside the state capital or even within harder-to-navigate city slums.

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

BRAZIL / 19 JUL 2018

The arrest of an alleged Brazilian crime boss in Paraguay’s capital city illustrates how police corruption and sophisticated tactics may…

BRAZIL / 30 JUL 2021

There is one crucial quality for any successful wildlife trafficker: tenacity. And Kirill Kravchenko had it in spades.

BRAZIL / 16 FEB 2012

Honduras plans to modernize its fleet of Tucano aircraft with technical assistance from Brazil, where the airplanes were manufactured.

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

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.