Thursday, July 18, 2013

Brazilian Police Apparently "Take No Prisoners"

This is an eye-opening article on police killings in Brazil from the Wall Street Journal. Some choice excepts:
Brazilian "police kill more suspects than almost anywhere else in the world. Police in São Paulo state killed one suspect for every 229 they arrested last year, according to government figures, compared with one per 31,575 in the U.S. in 2011."
That sounds pretty bad. So who do more than half of Sao Paulo residents believe that police officers who are found to be members of grupos de extermino (death squads) should NOT be punished?
Paulistanos live on high alert when it comes to crime. Robbery-homicides have soared this year from already high levels, and newspapers here are filled with accounts tinged with vengeful brutality. In a new trend this year, three victims were set ablaze in separate crimes, apparently because they didn't have much cash. Regular newspaper fare relegated to the back pages: clean-out jobs by armed crews who take over entire restaurants, or even whole buildings, and rob everyone inside.

Few of these crimes are solved, while cases that are prosecuted can take years to come to trial. Criminals who are jailed go to prisons dominated by the Primeiro Comando da Capital, or PCC, a gang big enough to challenge the police head-on. Last year, the PCC put a bounty on police after officers killed a PCC leader. More than 100 police were killed.

The key fact about the graphic below is not the lack of correlation between number of homicides and number of justified police homicides, but rather that as recently as 2002, this one state in Brazil (Sao Paulo, population 40 million) has nearly as many annual homicides as did the entire United States (population +311 million).

We should hear more about this during the run up to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janiero.
By the way, UFC fighter Paulo Thiago is a member of Brazil's "special police," which is why I always pick him to win his bouts.
"UFC welterweight Paulo Thiago comes into the UFC with an uncommonly unique background. With six years experience as a B.O.P.E. officer on the deadly streets of Brazil, hand-to-hand combat inside the Octagon is merely "fun and joy" for Thiago. The real danger is on the streets where he's conducted hostage rescues, bomb diffusions, gun seizures and drug busts.

So what is B.O.P.E.?

B.O.P.E. (Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais, Portuguese for Special Police Operations Battalion) is the elite special forces unit of the Military Police for the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Due to the nature of crime in favelas (Brazilian Portuguese for slum), B.O.P.E. units have extensive experience in urban warfare as well as progression in confined and restricted environments. They also utilizes equipment deemed more powerful than traditional civilian law enforcement. Utilizing more than 400 soldiers, B.O.P.E. is believed to be one of the most efficient military forces in the world.

Best said by Captain Wesley Santos, "When society needs help, they call the Police. When the Police need help, they call B.O.P.E. Thiago is a true B.O.P.E officer." Santos describes his best characteristic as being able to remain tranquil in dangerous situations."



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