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Police Brutality


Police brutality refers to the unnecessary, excessive and illegal use of force against civilians. The law permits the police force in Brazil to use reasonable force in maintaining order. The vagueness of what a reasonable force is, however, is what leads to the misuse of that force. To this extent, therefore, the force becomes unreasonable and unlawful. What is currently happening in Brazil, especially in the slums, with a view of the crackdown of the criminals ahead of the Olympics is a clear definition of police brutality. The impact of such an activity is that it makes the innocent citizens rebel against the government, and if that happens, it may lead to excessive violence, thus disrupting the upcoming Olympics in Brazil. One of the factors leading to the violence is the implementation of the “Shoot to kill order” by the government of Brazil. The paper critically analyzes police brutality in America and its impact on the upcoming Olympics.  

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The Genesis of Police Brutality in Brazil 2 Months to the Olympics

The violence instigated by the police against the innocent civilians in Brazil is threatening peace ahead of the Olympics. With the police unable to quell the piling pressure from the citizens over the looming recession and unequal distribution of wealth in Brazil, which has led to a political crisis, it has resulted in using violence. The people of Brazil, agitated with the corruption scandals facing the president of Brazil since reelection in 2014,  has led to resentment, with majority of the senate passing an impeachment motion that led to her suspension awaiting trial. The corruption has disgusted the people of Brazil, especially those living in the slums under very deplorable conditions, whose reaction sparked protests and violence and thus attracting the police brutality. It is, however, unfair for the police to use excessive force because they are well equipped to use alternative and reasonable ways of calming down demonstrations.

Forms of Police Brutality in Brazil

As earlier reiterated, the use of force by a police officer in a manner that is illegal amounts to violence. Such activities are, however, achieved through different means. First, the police in Brazil use fire arms in to kill the unarmed civilians. According to Amnesty International, the police in Brazil are operating on a shoot to kill order, whereas strategy dubbed “Kill first and ask later” is being implemented. Such strategy is very dangerous as it goes against the long established principle of declaring an individual innocent before being proven guilty by a court of law. The second manner in which the police brutality is exercised is through the extra judicial killings. Thirdly, the evictions in the Olympics city, Rio de Janeiro, are conducted in a very brutal manner leaving the people homeless. Lastly, the police continue to use violence on the innocent demonstrators, who are in resentment of the violence committed against them.

Important Issues about the Violence Instigated in Brazil, Especially Those Attributable to the Police

Currently, Brazil wears two faces to the world. One face is impressing, as a very upcoming economy rated 6th in the world and thus capable of attracting many international sporting activities; on the other hand, it has a face of violence against its civilians. As at the year 2012, Brazil had already earned the reputation of the country with the highest number of homicides in the world. About 56,000 people succumbed to death in Brazil under unknown circumstances. What is surprising, however, is the fact that out of these murders, 50% related to killings of minors and youth of between fifteen and twenty nine years.

A further research indicates that of the fifty percent of the youths killed, seventy seven percent are blacks, meaning that the violence conducted by both police and other groups is targeting the black people in America (Amnesty International). In addition, the murders of civilians attributable to the police in the city of Rio de Janeiro between the years 2005 and the year 2016 stand at number 8,471. These are the deaths caused by the police while on duty. Cumulatively, the number of deaths by the police classified as “Death following Resistance” in Brazil stand at a margin of 16 percent of the total killings that have occurred in Brazil within the past five years alone. According to the Amnesty International report, 220 investigations were opened in the year 2011 against the police officers alleged to be behind the killings; unfortunately, only one person was convicted. Such kind of actions shows that the justice system in Brazil operates in favor of the police as against the civilians and, therefore, encourages the violent acts by the police.

Poor Investigations of the Acts of Violence by the Police is a Reason to Worry as the Olympics Approaches

An article published by Amnesty International early this year and dubbed “My Taxes paid the Bullet that Killed my Grandson” explains how the a seventeen-year-old boy succumbed to death at the hands of the police over wrong allegations that the police actually never had any evidence. The murder of the innocent boy by the name of Nathaniel occurred on the 6th of February, when he had gone for an outing with his girlfriend. It was further revealed that besides Nathaniel, 12 other teenagers had been reported dead on the same night under very unclear circumstances. In their official report, the police alleged that the 12 people were a part of a group that was targeting the robbery of a bank on that night. The report, however, seemed too narrow and shallow in that it did not show any eye witness to the incident, and neither was any investigation conducted to reveal the exact truth of the situation. In agitation, the boy whose only surviving guardian was his grandmother, upon his death, the grandmother, lamented as to how, she had paid the taxes, only for the taxes to end up killing his grandson. Unfortunately, the bodies of all the 12 people, lied in the streets without nay investigations carried out. The government instead of condemning the act further ended up praising the police for the great work they had done.  Such recklessness in handling investigations coupled with overprotection is what is keeling every fiber of peace and security in Brazil.

The police, for example, through their crackdown on the Drug addicts and sellers, have ended up causing a lot of pain, suffering and deaths on the innocent civilians, majority of whom come from very poor backgrounds. It is estimated that in such crackdowns, about 6 people are killed every day by the police – still being a figure that is reasonably lower than the exact number. Violence by the police has become so rampant in Brazil that even just standing up to criticize the government over the acts attracts violence by itself. The situation is true for all the demonstrations that have been organized by the human rights organizations, who in return ended up losing their lives or harassed by the police. It is unfortunate but some of these killings are just a way of eradicating the black population in Brazil.

The Impact of the Police Violence on the Upcoming Olympics in Brazil

While the police are mandated to restore order and preserve the rule of law, the use of excessive force on the civilians is utterly unacceptable. When these people are hurt, they revenge through demonstrations and destruction on property. If the situation continues further, it may either disrupt the coming Olympics or cause violence during the event. It is evident from the data presented that the people of Brazil, especially the poor, are afraid of the police so much that they fear also the criminals and other drug traffickers, who are at the center of the police crackdown. Such a weak way of tackling the residents by the police, unfortunately, does more harm than good to the whole Brazilian community.

Still, when citizens lose their loved ones at the hands of the police, the stress and frustration they undergo in life pushes them to engage in criminal activities themselves. In revenge, they also end up killing other people. Meanwhile, when such an avalanche is triggered, no one recalls that the work of the police is to create not fear among the citizens, but rather the confidence that they are secure from any harmful acts. It for this reason that currently, the rate of killings in the northern Brazil stands at 59 percent, while in the south, it stands at 53 percent. These rates are very worrying because if the situation continues, there is a likelihood that the upcoming Olympics will be held amidst many security challenges. Secondly, the Brazilian population may not gain much economically from the activity as the Olympic funs around the globe may not travel to Brazil for the fear of their lives. Likewise, the businessmen in Brazil will not give their best to earn revenue for Brazil because they will be worried about their lives.

Currently, the shootings by the police have further disrupted the preparations from the residents of Brazil to receive an optimal benefit from what the sporting activity offers. According to the UN, the recent shootings of the civilians indicate that the police are not ready to handle violence during the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The police cannot be everywhere, during the kickoff of the event, and, thus, the residents may also be tempted to spark violence during the event. For example, the families of those who have been forcefully evicted from the slums for the purpose of the preparations of the Olympic are still bitter about the actions of the government. Tracing from the World Cup in 2014, where a group of youths went to the streets to protest the death one of the famous musicians and started burning tires in resentment, a repeat of the same is likely to occur.

While some argue that such measures are necessary in delivering a city free of insecurity to the world for the hosting of the Olympics, it will have very devastating effects on the people of Brazil as the police are establishing a very bad precedent for the future. After the Olympics, the police will have to deal with the mess they have created.


In conclusion, when there are barely two months to the start of the Olympics in Brazil, police brutality continues to be a challenging affair. The acts are threatening the peace and security of the whole event and derailing the preparations for the Olympics. Some of the ways used include shooting of innocent people, extrajudicial killings which are done without investigations, application of the shoot to kill order which goes against the bill of rights, forceful evictions of the people in the slums, and the use of excessive force on the innocent demonstrators as a way of silencing them. From the whole violence, however, the group of people that suffers the most are the poor and marginalized black youths of the age between fifteen and twenty-nine.

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