Brazil: Killing of 13-year-old boy in police shootout shows reckless security strategy

The death of a teenage boy who was caught up in a shootout between police and suspected members of a criminal gang in a favela in Rio de Janeiro today tragically illustrates the urgent need for Brazil to drastically reform its approach to policing, said Amnesty International.

“We have long documented the shocking ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ tactic used by police in Rio de Janeiro during their security operations in favelas. This ‘Wild West’ approach to policing is leaving a tragic trail of blood and suffering,” said Atila Roque, Executive director at Amnesty International Brazil.

We have long documented the shocking ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ tactic used by police in Rio de Janeiro during their security operations in favelas. This ‘Wild West’ approach to policing is leaving a tragic trail of blood and suffering.
Atila Roque, Executive Director at Amnesty International Brazil.

Thirteen-year-old Cristian was playing football in the favela of Manguinhos, in Rio de Janeiro, when military and civil police officers entered the community and engaged in a gun battle with a group of men. One of the bullets hit Cristian, who died immediately. Eyewitnesses said police officers tried to clean the crime scene after the incident.

“This tragic death must be urgently investigated and those responsible, brought to justice. Cristian must not be just another number in the long and appalling list of children and young men who have been brutally killed in favelas in the last few years.”