HomeNewsBriefWere Brazil Police Behind Killing Spree?
BRIEF

Were Brazil Police Behind Killing Spree?

BRAZIL / 15 JAN 2014 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

Tensions are building in the city of Campinas, Brazil after what residents suspect was a series of revenge killings carried out by military police, once again raising the issue of extrajudicial killings in the country.

Over the last few days, Campinas, in the state of São Paulo, has seen street protests and arson attacks following the murder of 12 men in a killing spree on the night of January 12.

The police are investigating the possibility that the perpetrators of the killings were members of the military police and the murders were revenge for the death of an off-duty colleague who was shot in a botched robbery attempt.

All of the murders took place close to each other and were carried out with a similar modus operandi. According to BBC Mundo, the weapons used were high caliber military-grade arms, fuelling suspicion of security forces involvement.

In what locals say was a reprisal for the murders, the next day around 300 masked youths armed with sticks and rocks attacked a bus station, setting fire to several buses, reported O Globo. This was followed on January 15 with a peaceful anti-police protest.

InSight Crime Analysis

The Brazilian police -- especially its military police -- are notorious for extra-judicial killings, whether they come dressed up as "resistance killings" -- where police murder a suspect then claim he was resisting arrest -- or if they are carried out by police-run militias.

SEE ALSO: Brazil News and Profiles

The concern in Campinas is that if the police were behind the murder spree, then tensions with the local communities could erupt into violence. In 2012, São Paulo police became embroiled in a tit-for-tat with criminal gangs that escalated into a war between police and local gangs. The violence in São Paulo dragged on for months, leading to a drastic spike in the murder rate and the death of 95 police officers in the first 11 months of the year.

The rapid recourse to arson attacks on public transport also echoes the violence that gripped the neighboring state of Santa Catarina early last year, when prison gang leaders directed a wave of violent attacks, which included assaults on police stations.

Brazil, the host of the World Cup later this year, is trying to tighten security, and organizers are worried that violence and protests may disrupt the games.

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

POLICE REFORM / 17 DEC 2013

For many citizens, corruption is associated with state institutions and, above all, with the institutions that have…

BRAZIL / 31 AUG 2017

Brazil authorities have reportedly dismantled an international drug trafficking network that purchased tons of drugs from a Brazilian crime…

HONDURAS / 31 AUG 2012

Honduras' Congress is set to approve a bill to establish a new elite military police unit to fight organized crime,…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Unraveling the Web of Elites Connected to Organized Crime

27 JUL 2021

InSight Crime published Elites and Organized Crime in Nicaragua, a deep dive into the relationships between criminal actors and elites in that Central American nation.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime’s Greater Focus on US-Mexico Border

20 JUL 2021

InSight Crime has decided to turn many of its investigative resources towards understanding and chronicling the criminal dynamics along the US-Mexico border.

THE ORGANIZATION

Key Arrests and Police Budget Increases Due to InSight Crime Investigations

8 JUL 2021

With Memo Fantasma’s arrest, InSight Crime has proven that our investigations can and will uncover major criminal threats in the Americas.

THE ORGANIZATION

Organized Crime’s Influence on Gender-Based Violence

30 JUN 2021

InSight Crime investigator Laura N. Ávila spoke on organized crime and gender-based violence at the launch of a research project by the United Nations Development Programme.

THE ORGANIZATION

Conversation with Paraguay Judicial Operators on PCC

24 JUN 2021

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley formed part of a panel attended by over 500 students, all of whom work in Paraguay's judicial system.