Brazil: Cop cams go global / Robert Muggah

Brazil´s military police have long equated law enforcement with warfare. But there are signs that the status quo is changing, and worldwide.

On 14 July last year, military police arrested Amarildo de Souza, an unemployed bricklayer. He was picked-up from the front doorstep of his home in Rocinha, Rio de Janeiro’s sprawling favela, reputedly the largest slum in all of South America. He was taken to the headquarters of the neighborhood´s pacification police unit, deployed there two years earlier. There he was tortured to death by the police and his body was never recovered.

The pacification police were originally intended to inject a community-oriented ethos into law enforcement. The idea was radical for a city used to being policed by thugs. The first goal of pacification is to recover slums controlled for decades by drug traffickers, and the second is to then win the hearts and minds of local residents. The tragic case of Amarildo, however, exposes the grave shortcomings of one of the world’s most fascinating police experiments. SEE MORE…

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