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Rio | Militias on the March

Source, Roda Viva, on TV Cultura, November 13, 2012

We lack an important tool for the investigation of crimes committed by the police. –Claudio Beato

The interviewee is Claudio Beato, a professor at CRISP –Center for Violence Studies at the Federal University  of Minas Gerais.

Partial translation: C. Brayton

To discuss the current wave of violence in São Paulo,  Roda Viva welcomes Claudio Beato, sociologist and coordinator at  CRISP.

During the interview, Claudio said that public safety is disorganized and inadequate and has crossed over into the domain of the dysfunctional

According to Beato, the first item of debate must always be amending the Constitution of 1988 as to police powers. “The Constitution obliges us to accept this model of policing. A deep cultural change, together with new legislaton, is needed. Our system remains deeply conservative.

According to Beato, the prison system is the greatest challenge faced by federal and state govenments  “In jail is where criminal organizations are organized.”  Claudio warns, however, that “the groups operating outside of prisons are the most dangerou as are the militias, which will very soon install themselves in São Paulo.

Militias are criminal groups with ties to the police what take over communities and neighborhoods.  Beato says it is in the interest  of the scheme to engage in «spectacles», even though public opinion is against them “If we do nothing, I believe we will see the militia model developed in Rio spreading to other urban areas.

They probably already have. The notorious E.M. of Espirito Santos was not disbanded until 2004. When the military police commander of the Northern Zone, said to be an anti-corruption manager, was whacked sicário style as he rode his bicycle. Killer never caught. Score one for the bad guys. It was a sickening sight.

Meanwhile, it is even debatable whether Rio sets the national standard for mafia parapolitics.

Referred to in their heyday as polícia mineira — a neighborhood watch group –these appear to be nothing more than the traditional Northeastern model of a death squad in the service of some “colonel.” Modern militias, however, are entrepreneur and diversified their portfolio: cooking gas, cable TV, van service …

To put an end to this sort of criminal conduct, a specialized investigative team should be brought in. As Claudio says, however: “We lack an important tool for the investigation of crimes committed by the police.”