Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro commended the police for an armed operation that left 28 dead in Rio de Janeiro's shantytown of Jacarezinho on May 6. He also criticized human rights defenders for speaking of "victims" when referring to alleged criminals killed by police.
Brazilian Justice Investigates Police Raid That Left 25 Deaths
"By treating as victims traffickers who steal, kill, and destroy families, the press and the left equate them to honest ordinary citizens who respect the laws and their fellow man," Bolsonaro said, recalling that a policeman also died.
"It is a serious offense to the people who have long been hostage to criminality, congratulations to the Civil Police of Rio de Janeiro!", he tweeted.
According to Bolsonaro, police officers who kill criminals should have guarantees that they will not be judicially accountable for their actions if they were carried out in the exercise of their duties.
Officially, the Jacarezinho operation was aimed at combating the recruitment of minors by a drug-traffic gang. Videos and testimonies from residents, however, show that the police invaded homes without judicial authorization, shot people who had surrendered, and confiscated the witnesses' cell phones.
Because of this, Brazil's Attorney Augusto Aras on Friday asked the governor of Rio de Janeiro to clarify the circumstances of the operation.
Supreme Court Judge Luiz Edson Fachin claimed to have seen indications of "arbitrary executions" in the videos he analyzed. The UN Office for Human Rights also denounced that security forces were trying to prevent an independent investigation.
Besides denying all allegations of abuses, the Civil Police claimed that it acted in a planned manner and under the supervision of the Prosecutor's Office.