Despite ADPF Favelas Case, Rio de Janeiro records 61 massacres in 2021, says report

Annual report of the Cross Fire Institute reveals that three out of every four massacres in Metropolitan Rio de Janeiro, such as the killings in Jacarezinho, were from police actions

Leftover Projectiles in Jacarezinho alley after the violent action by Rio de Janeiro police (credit: Vozes da Comunidade) Leftover Projectiles in Jacarezinho alley after the violent action by Rio de Janeiro police (credit: Vozes da Comunidade)

In spite of a ruling from the Supreme Court in August 2020, as part of the ADPF Favelas Case, restricting police operations in favelas across the state of Rio de Janeiro during the pandemic, the Metropolitan Region of Rio de Janeiro recorded 61 massacres in 2021, with police operations responsible for three of every four incidents over the year, including 28 deaths in the Jacarezinho favela, in May. The data are from the annual report of the Cross Fire Institute, released earlier this month.

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The Cross Fire report also points out that the figures for 2021 are higher than those for 2020, when there were 44 massacres and 170 deaths.  One of the most striking cases last year was a police operation in Jacarezinho, on May 6, 2021, when 28 people were killed, including a civil police officer. The Jacarezinho massacre, as the incident has become known, is now the deadliest police operation in Rio de Janeiro’s history, according to the Study Group of New Illegalisms, of the Fluminense Federal University. 

Importance of the ADPF Favelas Case 

According to Gabriel Sampaio, coordinator of the program to Combat Institutional Violence at Conectas, the data on police violence in Rio de Janeiro illustrate how important and urgent it is to proceed with and conclude the judgment of ADPF Case 635, known as the ADPF Favelas Case. “We cannot allow more people to be killed and the ruling already issued by the Supreme Court to be systematically ignored. The ADPF Favelas Case raises the debate on the extremely serious violations committed by the State in the field of public security and since 2020 it has restricted police operations during the pandemic, a key measure to save lives, particularly those of black people in the urban peripheries,” said Sampaio. 

Resumption of the judgment 

The resumption of the judgment of an appeal filed by the PSB (Brazilian Socialist Party), NGOs and social movements engaged in the ADPF Favelas Case is scheduled for February 2. In this judgment, the organizations are asking the state government of Rio de Janeiro, among other things, to prepare a plan to reduce police lethality. 

See the key data from the annual report of the Cross Fire Institute: 

  • 4,653 shootings in Greater Rio de Janeiro in 2021, an average of 13 shootings per day. In all, 2,098 people were shot
  •  61 massacres in Greater Rio de Janeiro in 2021
  • 17 children and 43 adolescents shot in Greater Rio de Janeiro in 2021
  • 181 law enforcement officers shot in the Metropolitan Region in 2021

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