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Rio Cops ‘Kill Three People A Day’

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Police in Rio de Janeiro are responsible for murdering three people every day, a controversial UN report says.
Special envoy Philip Alston found Brazilian police were guilty of a “significant proportion” of the 48,000 killings in the country last year.

His report, which was presented to the UN Human Rights Council, found that off-duty officers often moonlight as members of death squads.

“A remarkable number of police lead double lives,” Mr Alston said.

“While on duty they fight the drug gangs, but on their days off they work as foot soldiers of organised crime.”


In the northeast Brazilian state of Pernambuco, Mr Alston estimated that 70% of all murders were committed by death squads comprised of off-duty and retired officers.

But Rio’s state security chief rejected the report, saying Mr Alston spent less than two weeks in Brazil and did not fully understand what was happening.

“He is a person who comes from Australia … (and) came up with a short-sighted report of police operations,” Jose Beltrame said.

“I want him to prove it.”

The special envoy said the country’s appalling criminal justice system was largely to blame for what he found.