Favela Residents Report During Police Operation That Killed 13

They told public defenders in Rio that police officers tortured and killed suspects after they surrendered

Rio de Janeiro

"They called us whores."
"They said they killed ten people and would kill twenty more."
"They barged into my house and asked if I was a drug addict."
"They wouldn't let people leave the neighborhood to go to the doctor."
"They screamed 'help,' 'don't kill me.'"

These were some of the accounts that residents of Morro do Fallet told public defenders on Tuesday (12th), some of them relatives of the 13 people dead there after a police operation last Friday (8th).

A man walks on a blood-stained floor at a house where police officers confronted suspects during an operation against drug gangs at Fallet slum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil February 8, 2019 SMS414 - REUTERS

The witnesses once more claimed that the police officers killed the suspects after they had surrendered. The military police, however, is sticking to its version that there was a confrontation with drug dealers.

The witness didn't deny that their family members were involved with drug dealing, but they say the suspects should have been taken into custody instead of murdered.

Public defender Pedro Strozenberg said that the evidence so far points to a situation that could have been avoided. "It was a deeply flawed police operation," he said.

Strozenberg said that the witnesses described several instances of police brutality.

A man whose two nephews (16 and 18) died during the operation, said that the police officers stabbed the two young men after shooting them in the legs so that they couldn't run away.

Other witness described that suspects were battered and hit in the head. They also told the public defenders that law enforcement didn't let anyone get close to the house where most suspects died, and the police hurried to take the bodies away.

Translated by NATASHA MADOV

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