The United Nations human right office has strongly criticised a police raid against drug traffickers in Rio de Janeiro.
The raid was amid allegations of abuse and extrajudicial executions. The operation is considered the deadliest one in Rio de Janeiro’s history. Moreover, it has led to the demise of 25 people, including a police officer.
Residents say police killed suspects who wanted to surrender and entered home without a warrant.
Police have denied any wrongdoing, saying officers acted like that in self-defence.
The vast areas of Rio de Janeiro, one of Brazil’s most violent cities, is under the control of criminals. Additionally, many of these are linked to powerful drug trafficking gangs.
However, security forces are constantly accused of using disproportionate powers during their anti-crime operations.
Thursday’s raid in Jacarezinho, one of the city’s largest slums known as favelas, was carried by 200 police officers. Along with it, there was a sniper and an armoured helicopter. Brazil’s most extensive criminal organisations control the area, the Comando Vermelho or the Red Command.
A television helicopter filmed heavily armed suspects from the rooftops while desperate residents posted videos on social media. The videos showed intense shootouts, as they claimed as police invaded their houses and used excessive violence.
Heavy pools of blood
Public defender Maria Júlia Miranda said residents told her a suspect was killed in a bedroom of an eight-year-old girl. There were a pool of bloodstains on the floor and her bed. Moreover, the family witnessed the alleged execution.
Ms Miranda said she was shocked by seeing the blood pools and walls of bullet marks while visiting the area. There was also evidence that there was no preserving of the scenes of the killings. In the cases when the dead bodies being removed, there was probably an execution.
A human rights group, including Amnesty International, said they too had received images and reports from residents. They told the police officers had invaded their houses. Moreover, even the people who offered no risk were killed as well.
The raid happened despite a court ruling last June that restricted police action in impoverished areas of Rio. Especially during pandemic unless it was deemed essential.
The Rio state public prosecutor’s office said it would launch an investigation. While the police said, they would also open an enquiry into the operation.