RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Two Brazilian police officers have been arrested in Rio de Janeiro after security camera images showed them shooting at two young men on a motorbike, before taking them away in a car. The two men later turned up dead.
Saturday’s incident in the poor Rio suburb of Belford Roxo shines a fresh light on aggressive tactics of Brazilian police, who critics allege often target poor young Black men in deadly raids.
Critics say Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right former army captain, has empowered police to be more aggressive than ever, offering them his full support to take out criminals in the country’s drug-riddled slums. Bolsonaro has said “criminals should die like cockroaches.” https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/brazil-police-violence/?fbclid=IwAR3m1AH6ErU2y9qYFEpsYALl-AyUKYmbYs8vg-XjUQC75JkyN6xYL49Wt9E
Rio’s military police said in a statement, “As soon as (we) became aware of the facts, all pertinent measures were taken immediately.”
The two officers, it added, “were arrested and taken to the Rio de Janeiro Military Police Prison Unit.” Their weapons were confiscated and they have been questioned.
In the video, which first aired on Brazilian news show Fantastico on Sunday, a motorcycle carrying two men careens around a corner, past the police. As it passes, one of the officers opens fire on the men, and they both fall off the bike.
The cops move them out of the road, and, according to images from another camera, handcuff them as they stand against a wall. They then put them in the back of their car, while one of the cops drives their motorbike away.
The two men, identified by local media as Edson Arguinez Junior, 20, and Jordan Luiz Natividade, 18, were later found dead, far from the scene of the arrest.
According to Fantastico, the two police officers failed to mention shooting at the motorbike. They said they released the two men shortly after taking them away in their car, after realizing there were no issues with them or their bike.
(Reporting by Gabriel Stargardter in Rio de Janeiro; Editing by Matthew Lewis)