The number of people killed by police officers in the last ten years in Pernambuco explodes


The judicial decision of the 1st Criminal Court of Camaragibe, which made 12 military police officers defendants on suspicion of involvement in the planning and execution of a massacre in Greater Recife, reinforces the warning about the growing number of deaths caused by police officers. In Pernambuco, this indicator has exploded in the last decade. The increase was 444%, compared to 2014. Researchers and experts who work with public security warn that, in reality, the numbers may be higher due to the possible underreporting of cases whose due author was not identified by the authorities.

In 2023, the first year of the Raquel Lyra (PSDB) government, there were 120 deaths caused by police officers in Pernambuco, an average of 10 per month. An increase of 30%, compared to the previous 12 months, when 92 people were killed.

In statistics, these deaths are described as “deaths resulting from police intervention”. The nomenclature suggests confrontation or legitimate use of force, hypotheses provided for in the Penal Code that exclude the agent’s responsibility. But it’s not always so. There are cases in which the official version ends up being contradicted by witnesses, exams or other evidence.

Housewife Verônica Silva had her 19-year-old son killed by police officers from the Special Operations Battalion (BOPE) in November 2020, on Itamaracá Island, in Greater Recife. Young Deyvison Fernando da Silva and his uncle, Marcone José da Silva, 35 years old, worked in a shrimp farm in the community of Chié, in the Salinas neighborhood.

That morning, the duo’s job was to literally watch the nursery. Some crustaceans may not survive if the water level drops too low. Fishing would be the following day. The merchandise had already been negotiated, the ice was waiting in the coolers.

In the version presented by five BOPE police officers, the officer was shot; so he fought back. At the police station, the police presented a small amount of marijuana, two 38-caliber revolvers and a 12-gauge shotgun. Everything made it appear that the action had been legitimate and legal, until forensics began to indicate otherwise. The examination by the Legal Medical Institute identified signs of torture on Marcone’s chest, head, back and legs:

“Bruises and bruises on the body: on the face, on the upper right and lower right lips, on the internal mucosa, bilateral periorbital ecchymosis, facial and bipalpebral edema, anterior surface of the abdomen, chest, back, lower limbs. Edema and asymmetry of the face on the right in the malar region, suggesting external injuries caused by violence. I conclude that death was caused by internal bleeding in the abdomen from a wound caused by firearm projectiles. Other diagnoses: head, brain and facial trauma caused by a blunt instrument.”

The investigation revealed another fact that differed from the version of the police officers involved: the residuographic examination by the Criminalistics Institute (IC) did not find lead or gunpowder residue on the hands of Dayvison or Marcone.

Four male military police officers and one female were charged by the Pernambuco Public Ministry for the double homicide of an uncle and nephew. “They artificially innovated the crime scene with the aim of misleading forensics and criminal judgment. Furthermore, the intensity of the physical violence suffered by the victim Marcone demonstrates a subjective intentional element, distinct from that inherent to the exercise of the function, as the victim was tortured, before being killed”, says an excerpt from the Public Ministry document.

The judge of the Single Court of Itamaracá accepted the complaint in December last year, but denied the request for precautionary removal of those mentioned. “Extreme measure that should only be taken in cases of proven involvement of the public agent with criminal factions or repeated abuse of authority”, assessed magistrate José Romero Maciel de Aquino.

BOPE agents were also not removed from the streets by the Social Defense Secretariat (SDS). Therefore, even defendants for double intentional homicide, in a case with strong evidence of torture, sergeant Carlos André da Silva Soares and soldiers Aryclayton Accioly da Silva, Diogo Correia Santos, Eliade Abdias Cruz do Nascimento and Paulo Henrique Gomes Machado continue in operations .

Raquel government minimizes police lethality

Called Together for Security, the state public security plan of the Raquel Lyra government (PSDB) ignores the growth over the years in the number of deaths caused by police officers. And it does not provide measures or actions to deal with the phenomenon.

“The 92 deaths resulting from confrontations, which occurred in 2022 in Pernambuco, represented only 2.8% of the total number of Intentional Violent Deaths (3,325). In relative terms, in 2022, the state recorded a rate of 1 death for every group of 100 thousand inhabitants, standing out positively”.

The excerpt above was taken from page 26 of Juntos Pela Segurança and is the government’s only reference to the issue of deaths resulting from police intervention. Detail: the year highlighted by the state plan is the last of the eight years of the Paulo Câmara administration. In 2023, the first year of Raquel’s government, deaths caused by police increased by 30%.

Together for Security Plan does not address the problem

Credit: Secom/Gov. standing

Civil society and families of victims demand measures

In November 2023, the Legislative Assembly of Pernambuco held a public hearing to address deaths caused by police action at the Citizenship and Human Rights Commission. The meeting took place at the request of the Popular Public Security Forum. At the time, relatives of young black or poor people killed by the police demanded that the agents involved be held accountable.

Before the families of the victims, the Secretary of Social Defense, Alessandro Carvalho, spoke at the microphone. “We are not about to put in something that does not exist, nor take away something that did exist. So, whoever acted wrongly, whoever went too far, he will respond. Now, sometimes there is a delay because everything needs to go through due legal process.” In his presentation from the tribune, the holder of the portfolio that controls and manages the military, civil and scientific police did not mention the increase in police lethality in 2023, which was already planned at that time.

For the Legal Advisory Office for Popular Organizations (Gajop), what has been done in Pernambuco to inhibit the spread of police lethality has originated in the state Public Ministry. “The governor doesn’t want to deal with this, I believe, because of her support base. What we see is a firmer action by the MPPE”, assesses social scientist Edna Jatobá, executive coordinator of the organization that is part of the National Human Rights Council.

She explains that the indicator of deaths resulting from police intervention can only cover cases covered by the exclusion of illegality, which says that there is no crime when the agent commits the act out of necessity, self-defense, in compliance with legal duty or in the regular exercise of right. “When the illegality exclusion is not configured, these cases must be counted as intentional violent deaths”, she explains.

Manual for a technical and efficient investigation

The MPPE formed a specialized group in April last year, with experienced prosecutors, to closely monitor cases involving deaths that may have been caused by police officers in illegal actions. Constitutionally, external control of police activity is the responsibility of the Public Ministry.

The Specialized Joint Action Group for Prevention and External Control monitored the double homicide of an uncle and nephew in Itamaracá and also investigated the succession of intentional violent deaths that became known as the Camaragibe Massacre, which occurred in September last year.

Based on the work carried out in these cases and others, Gace prosecutors have just completed a kind of technical and efficient investigation manual. A protocol on how to act quickly and what to analyze in cases where there is suspicion of illegal action by security force agents, in order to avoid loss of evidence. The document may be shared with representatives of the Public Ministry of other federation units.

Deaths caused by police, year by year


The article is in Portuguese

Tags: number people killed police officers ten years Pernambuco explodes



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