When he was campaigning to become the governor of Rio de Janeiro state, Wilson Witzel promised “shoot-to-kill” tactics against armed members of the city’s powerful drug gangs.
Now, after a deadly operation in which 13 people were killed, fears are rising that police in Rio are already implementing the policy.
Police and state prosecutors have opened investigations following the bloody operation in the Fallet/Fogueteiro favela in central Rio last Friday.
Relatives admit that some of the dead were drug gang members, but say they had surrendered their weapons to police before being summarily executed. Two other victims, including a teenager with no gang links, were tortured and shot dead in their own home, according to residents.
“Nothing justifies this. They had surrendered. The police preferred to execute them,” said Roberta Jeronimo, 23, a student whose brother Carlos Castilho, 26, was one of ten men reportedly killed in the same house.