Brazil: A Wave of Attacks Against the Police


Brazil: A Wave of Attacks Against the Police

Attacks against 11 police stations in São Paulo city didn’t come
as a surprise. The Chief of
Police revealed that he knew about
the actions from conversations picked up at prisons. The police
went
into a state of alert, but this measure, however,
wasn’t enough to prevent the attacks and two deaths.

by:
Elma-Lia Nascimento

 

Organized crime in Rio and São Paulo gave another show of force, challenging the police in those two cities. In
a concerted operation by the outlaws, 11 police stations were attacked and sprayed with machine gun fire in São Paulo,
Brazil’s largest city, with 11 million residents. In some cases grenades were also used by the lawbreakers. As a result, two
military policemen were killed and seven others (five military and two civilian) were injured.

The first attack occurred in the early hours of Sunday against a mobile police station in downtown São Paulo. Other
attacks came later that day and then continued on Monday. The dead policemen—corporal Pedro Cassiano Cunha and sergeant
Fábio Soares—were from Perus and Horto Florestal, two neighborhoods north of São Paulo city. No bandit was hurt or captured.

In Rio de Janeiro, a drug lord nicknamed Fiel (Faithful), the man who commanded the traffic in the Morro dos
Prazeres favela, in downtown Rio, was killed during a confrontation with the police. Fiel was caught by an 880-men
megaoperation mounted by the Rio police to capture criminals and seize drugs and weapons. Called Pressão Máxima, (Maximum
Pressure) the chase-bandit action will last the whole month of November, according to Rio’s Security Secretary, Anthony Garotinho.

The Rio operation, which was planned for three months, started in 20 places simultaneously. Every day, another 20
actions should take place. Residents in the areas being swept by the police are encouraged to call the Disque-Denúncia
(Dial-Squealing) telephone number 2253-1177 with information on places where drugs and drug dealers can be found.

Rio’s most notorious drug lord, Fernandinho Beira Mar (Seaside Freddy), allegedly was behind a series of attacks
against the police and the government earlier this year, right before Carnaval. Reports at the time said that he had ordered the
attacks from jail, as a protest against being stripped of several privileges in prison including conjugal visitations and restaurant
meals. Since May 6, Luiz Fernando da Costa is locked up in what is considered the most secure prison in Brazil, Presidente
Prudente’s Centro de Readaptação Penitenciária, 589 km from São Paulo city.

Finding an Explanation

São Paulo authorities believe that the anti-police rampage was orchestrated from behind the cells. Several drug ring
leaders are in jail and police believe they ordered the action after prison guards foiled a jail breakout in Tremembé, in the
interior of São Paulo, killing a convict. Ten armed men escalated the wall of the prison, in a daring action to free inmates.

"It seems like organized crime is trying to show us they are still out there," said São Paulo state’s chief of police,
Saulo de Castro Abreu Filho.

Another hypothesis is that the attacks were in response to the arrest one month ago of attorney Mauro Sérgio
Mungioli, who is at Presidente Bernardes penitentiary, in the interior of São Paulo. Mungioli is accused by the police of being a
front for Marcos William Herbas Camacho, better known as Marcola, one of the PCC bosses, who is also in the President
Bernardes jail.

The attacks didn’t come as a surprise. Chief of Police Saulo de Castro, revealed that he had received information
that military police stations would be attacked between November 1 and 2: "There was talk going on inside the prisons
about possible attacks. Based on that, we went in to a state of alert in the police stations and among the police men." The state
of alert, however, wasn’t enough to prevent the attacks and the two deaths.

According to prosecutor Roberto Porto, from Gaeco, the Special Action Group for the Repression of Organized
Crime, two of the people responsible for the action in São Paulo have been identified. Names were no given, but authorities
said they are members of the PCC (Primeiro Comando da Capital—Capital’s First Command), who are in jail.

The ministry in Brasília that should coordinate the national policy against crime is vacant. Luiz Eduardo Soares was
fired from his position as National Security Secretary on October 21 and nobody has yet been found to fill up his place.
Justice Minister Márcio Thomaz Bastos made what he called a "confraternization" visit to the chief of the Federal Police in São
Paulo, but hasn’t presented any name for the National Security post.

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