Government prosecutors and public defenders (Ministério Público) in the state of São Paulo, Brazil, made a formal request yesterday, May 22, for the PolÀcia Civil and the PolÀcia Militar to release a list of the civilians killed by them in the aftermath of last week’s uprising by gangs.
During a five-day period beginning on Friday, May 12, a series of criminal gang attacks occurred in the state of São Paulo. The targets of the attacks were policemen and police stations, buses (which were often torched) and some public buildings (mainly banks).
At the same time a state-wide prison rebellion affecting every prison and detention center in the state took place.
When things finally calmed down, beginning Tuesday, May 16, human rights activists, the Bar Association (OAB), public defenders and government prosecutors claim that the police went on a killing spree to settle accounts.
So far, the only official numbers are 41 dead policemen (in the first few days of the uprising). It is believed, unofficially, that more than a hundred people died between May 16 and May 19, almost all at the hands of the police.
Prosecutors have requested information from morgues and coroner’s offices on all violent deaths which occurred during the period in question.
According to the prosecutor’s request the reason they are asking for the information is to check on reports that the police used excessive violence when they cracked down on the uprising led by a criminal group known as the PCC (Primeiro Comando da Capital – First Command of the Capital).
A number of Brazilian civil groups, active in human rights, have joined the prosecutors in demanding information on what happened. Among those groups are: the São Paulo State Human Rights Council (Conselho Estadual de Direitos da Pessoa Humana), the National Human Rights Movement (Movimento Nacional dos Direitos Humanos), the Democratic Public Defender (Ministério Público Democrático), the State Legislative Assembly Human Rights Commission (Comissão de Direitos Humanos da Assembléia Legislativa de São Paulo), the Torture Never Again movement (movimento Tortura Nunca Mais) and the NGO Global Justice (ONG Justiça Global).