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São Paulo Police | More or Less Deadly?

G1 (Brazil) reports: A police raid on a São Paulo shantytown catches local drug traffickers meting out black market justice in the case of an alleged rape of a minor. The police press conference is here. Nine persons die in the ensuing shoot-out. The kangaroo court was being held at the house of a local city council candidate. Police report the seizure of a substantial cache of money, drugs and guns. The Terra news portal reportsthat the state police ombudsman says the case is cause for concern. But first, G1:

Despite the nine fatalities during Tuesday’s  raid, the state military police commandant said that 2012 has seen «the lowest fatality rate in the last 10 years» with respect to confrontations involving military police. According to the commandant, for each 100,000 official occurences involving PMs, only 1.16 result in a confrontation. “Confrontations occur once every three days, on average. For each fatality, 451 are arrested without incident and 83% of criminals survive the confrontation,” he said. On the other hand, the number of homicides targeting  police has risen to 67 so far this year, compared with 47 in 2011. Of these 67 deaths, only three involved PMs in the line of duty.

Terra reports:

State police ombudsman  Luiz Gonzaga Dantas says he is concerned by the death of nine persons in Tuesday’s incident in Várzea Paulista, in the  São Paulo metro area. 40 troopers from the Rondas Ostensivas Tobias de Aguiar (Rota) took part in the operation, which police say was designed to interrupt the «trial» of a man accused of rape by an organized crime group. The PM says 8 suspects were killed when they resisted the incursion. The police were unable to save the man from execution. PM commanders denied that the deaths were retaliation for the assassination of PMs in recent months. Gonzaga Dantas says the ombudsman will look into the incident and follow the investigation by the homicide division (DHPP). “We will interview persons who witnessed these lamentable facts,”he said. The ombudsman has also requested measures be taken by military police internal affairs. The state’s attorney will also follow the police investigation of Rota’s operation in  Várzea Paulista.

Sou da Paz, an observatory of human rights and violence, has a different focus, highlighting the percentage of all homicides owing to police action and comparing the statistics on police violence with deadly incidents in the United States. It highlights the fact that Sambodian police kill 10 times more often than U.S. police and in greater numbers each year than in the U.S. as a whole. Above: 20% of all homicides so far this year were committed by Sambodian police, as shown above. Somewhere here I have a plot showing the lack of correlation between the falling murder rate and the rate of police killings.

In a note published by the Observatório da Imprensa, Luciano Martins Costa points to the elephant in the room.

News coverage of the PCC — the First Command of the Capital — leads one to believe that some kind of accomodation between part of the São Paulo police and organized crime has been in force for some time now. This informal truce — if it existed — seems not to have involved the Polícia Militar, which clashes from time to time with the criminal faction.

In one of these actions, in May, three police troopers were detained on suspicion of carrying out an execution of criminal suspects. Soon after, police intelligence recorded conversations among PCC in which the murders of police were discussed

These facts are used by the Estado de S. Paulo to question the strategy of state officials. According to the São Paulo daily, deaths causes by the Polícia Militar contribute to spiralling violence.

A rapid analysis of news coverage available on the Internet suggests that an undeclared state of war exists between the PCC and PM. On more than one occasions, the military police hinted that since the events of 2006 the state judicial police have not investigated PCC activities as they should,  leaving it up to the military police to combat the faction.