In the most recent incident of violence resulting from law enforcement activities in the city’s impoverished favela neighborhoods, Brazilian officials have reported that at least nine individuals were killed during a police raid in the city of Rio de Janeiro.
The Complexo da Penha, a collection of favelas in the city’s north, was the target of the operation on Wednesday, according to the police.
According to a statement from the police, “a clash occurred when police teams came under attack by gunmen at the scene.” When police learned that top-level gang leaders were meeting, they started the operation.
Nine of the eleven suspects who were injured during the incident later died from their wounds. One of the officers was brought to the hospital and is doing OK.
Police raids are a frequent topic of debate in Brazil, as law-abiding politicians defend the operations as essential to the struggle against criminal organizations. Meanwhile, critics claim that police engage in criminal activity themselves, kill randomly in underprivileged areas, and work with paramilitary organizations.
Jair Bolsonaro, a former president of Brazil from the right who reportedly suggested that criminals should “die like cockroaches,” dismissed worries about police misconduct. He was a staunch supporter of the political groups in Brazil known as the “bullet lobby,” which advocate for increased access to firearms, stronger anti-crime policies, and support for the police.
Residents of the impoverished neighborhoods targeted by the raids occasionally dispute the account of violent episodes provided in official police reports.
For instance, a resident of Rio de Janeiro’s Complexo do Alemao favela told The Associated Press following a raid in July 2022, “It’s a massacre inside, which police are calling an operation.” At least 18 persons were slain in the raid.