STF upholds suspension of police operations in Rio de Janeiro favelas during the pandemic

The majority of ministers joined the rapporteur Edson Fachin in his vote to keep the measure in place

Foto: AlmaPreta Foto: AlmaPreta

The STF (Federal Supreme Court) decided by a majority to uphold the precautionary measure granted by Edson Fachin in June to suspend police operations in favelas and the periphery in the state of Rio de Janeiro during the Covid-19 pandemic.

With Minister Carmen Lúcia´s vote, issued on Tuesday (4) morning in a virtual session, the plenary formed the majority needed to approve the decision. Until now, seven of the eleven ministers have issued their votes. Only Alexandre de Moraes has voted differently from the rapporteur.

Suspension of police activities was in response to a request made at the end of May by a coalition of organisations, social movements and a mothers´ movement which arose because of a series of violent police actions which happened during lockdown. In one of these, a fourteen-year-old boy called João Pedro Mattos, was shot dead by police officers who entered his home in São Gonçalo, in the wider metropolitan zone of the capital of the state of Rio de Janeiro.

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At the time of the decision, Fachin declared that further operations could only take place “under exceptional circumstances and would have to be justified in writing by the responsible party, with immediate notification to the Public Prosecutor´s Office.”

The measure was taken as part of ADPF 635 (claims of non-compliance with a fundamental precept), dubbed the “ADPF das Favelas”. The action, which was proposed by the PSB (Brazilian Socialist Party), was put together in a collaborative effort between the Rio de Janeiro state Public Defender´s Office, Educafro, Justiça Global, Redes da Maré, Conectas Human Rights, Movimento Negro Unificado, Iser, Iniciativa Direito à Memória e Justiça Racial/IDMJR, Coletivo Papo Reto, Coletivo Fala Akari, Rede de Comunidades e Movimento contra a Violência, Mães de Manguinhos – all of which are organisations who have amicus curiae to accompany the case.

The ´ADPF das Favelas´ calls for the serious violations caused by public security policy in the state of Rio de Janeiro against black, poor people from the peripheries and favelas, to be acknowledged and redressed.

The organisations who participated in the ADPF have launched a national mobilisation effort to support the Supreme Court action. To participate accesswww.adpfdasfavelas.org.

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