(Rio de Janeiro) Police in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday destroyed a monument erected by residents in memory of 27 civilians and a policeman killed a year ago in the deadliest operation in history of this city in southeastern Brazil.
The narrow blue wall with the names of the deceased inscribed on small plaques was erected last week during a protest against police brutality in the Jacarezinho favela, marking the one-year anniversary of a drug raid that left 28 dead , 27 civilians (considered criminals by the police) and one policeman.
Police deemed the monument “illegal” because the 27 dead civilians had “criminal records and proven involvement in criminal activity”, according to a statement provided to AFP.
The monument “had no permission from the town hall” and the deceased policeman’s family did not allow his name to appear “alongside those of the traffickers”, police added.
With hammers and iron bars, several police officers first tore off the plates and then demolished the concrete wall, according to images released by the institution itself.
Activists and members of civil society working in the neighborhood criticized the police action.
“It’s absurd […] There was no apology (for drug trafficking) but a monument to console the families of the victims,” said Guilherme Pimentel, a member of an organization that provides legal assistance. to families.
Carried out on May 6, 2021, the operation sowed terror in the favela, where neighbors denounced the execution of suspects in cold blood and filmed images of bodies in the alleys and pools of blood on the terraces.
The investigations led to the filing of a criminal complaint by the prosecution against two traffickers and four police officers.
But ten of the thirteen investigations opened have been closed. In January, the Rio state government launched the “Cidade Integrada” (integrated city) program to root out drug trafficking in the neighborhood and improve social services there, though residents reported little progress.