Back in April, human rights organization Amnesty International reported that the number of people killed by police Rio de Janeiro jumped 54 percent between 2013 and 2015. In preparation for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the country ramped up its law enforcement by stationing police and members of the military in the country’s slums, or favelas, under the guise of protecting the poorest communities. But violence in the favelas actually surged with the presence of more officers — as did the number of people killed by them.
This year alone, police in Rio have killed 100 people, most of whom identified as black. As the city gears up for the Olympics in August, and the country scrambles to fix a crumbling political system, Amnesty International projects that the brutality will get much worse.
According to a new report from the international organization, 65,000 police officers and 20,000 soldiers have been tapped for security during the upcoming sporting event in Rio. Once again, many of them will be stationed in favelas, where the vast majority of the country’s black population lives. And there’s no telling how long they’ll stay.
Police Brutality In Brazil Is Out Of ControlWorld CREDIT: AP PHOTO/VICTOR R. CAIVANO In the U.S., a series of deaths has forced the nation’s public conscience to…thinkprogress.org“Brazil seems to have learned very little from the great mistakes it made over the years when it comes to public security. The policy of ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ has placed Rio de Janeiro as the one of the deadliest cities on earth,” Amnesty International Brazil Director Atila Roque, said in the report. “The country’s historic ill-conceived public security policies, coupled with the increasing human rights violations we have documented during major sports events and the lack of effective investigations are a recipe for disaster.”
Police violence in Brazil isn’t limited to Rio. On Wednesday, thousands of women took the streets in various parts of the country, in response to a brutal gang rape of a 16-year-old girl. In Sao Paolo, the home of interim President Michel Temer, officers used batons to crack down on some of the anti-rape protesters.
But with the Olympics on the horizon, all eyes are on Rio, where leaders are already planning to crack down on demonstrations, prohibit civilians from entering some public spaces, and heavily regulate where people can record and photograph the games.
“Despite the promised legacy of a safe city for hosting the Olympic Games, killings by the police have been steadily increasing over the past few years in Rio. Many have been severely injured by rubber bullets, stun grenades and even firearms used by police forces during protests,” Roque stated in a previous report from Amnesty International. “Until now, killings by police have for the most part not been investigated, rigorous training and clear operational guidelines for the use of ‘less-lethal’ weapons have not been established and the authorities still treat protesters like a ‘public enemy.”
With the Olympics approaching, the country has 64 days to turn its policing around.