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"Security forces should be decorated for using their guns instead of being taken to court," Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro asserts.
President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, said in a Monday interview he is pushing for legislation that would protect police officers and citizens who shoot to kill alleged criminals, adding that the latter should die like "cockroaches."
“These guys are going to die in the streets like cockroaches, and that’s how it should be,” he said of any alleged criminals.
In the interview, Bolsonaro announced that he sent a bill to Congress that, if passed, will provide “legal cover” to police officers enablinh them to use firearms without running any risk of prosecution. The president claimed that violence rates would fall drastically if the police could shoot to kill, knowing that they will not be brought to justice. He added that security forces should be decorated for using their guns instead of being taken to court.
The "anti-crime package" is currently under study by Congress. The plan aims, among other things, to broaden the so-called "exclusion of illegality” (exclusão de ilicitude), an article in Brazil’s criminal code that authorizes some normally illegal acts.
The far-right president also claimed the drop in murder rates during the first quarter of the year, which coincides with Bolsonaro's tenure, is because of his presidency and his appointing former judge Sergio Moro as Minister of Justice.
Bolsonaro’s comments triggered outrage among the opposition and human rights movements.
“These are abhorrent comments,” said Ariel de Castro Alves, a human rights activist and lawyer in Sao Paulo, who added that Bolsonaro’s discourse has caused a rise in deadly police brutality, and whose victims are overwhelmingly poor, young, Black men.