Sunday, September 20, 2009

Another Small Step in the Fight to Reign in Police Violence in Rio de Janeiro

It took four years, but this week, two former Rio de Janeiro police officers were sentenced to 500 years in prison for their roles in the massacre of 29 people in one of Rio's suburbs in 2005.

The ex-police officers joined three other former colleagues already sentenced to long terms in the case, which was dubbed the Baixada massacre after Rio de Janeiro's poor northern outskirts where prosecutors say a group of police officers fired on pedestrians, bar patrons and a crowd in a public square in 2005.
As the report also points out, nobody in Brazil can serve more than 30 years in prison, so the sentences for the two men (of 483 and 540 years) are obviously symbolic. Still, the fact that another case involving police killing innocents has resulted in prison is a small step in the right direction. Hopefully such cases will become more frequent, especially for those who kill innocents in the favelas.