2020 was the year of the Covid-19 pandemic in Brazil. What not everyone knows is that it was also the year in which the police killed the most in the country, since when the indicator of deaths produced by police began to be monitored by the Brazilian Public Security Forum (2013).

Before the confirmation of the first case of infection by the virus, on February 16, young black men had already lost their lives that year due to firearm shots carried out by security agents, such as William da Silva Melo, 19, resident of the neighborhood of Ibura, in the South Zone of Recife. Ammunition purchased and civil servants’ salaries paid with public money.

In Brazil 2020, 6,416 people were victims of police lethality. A number that grows year after year. Officially, these cases are described in the statistics as Deaths by Police Intervention, a nomenclature that suggests confrontation or legitimate use of force, including lethal force. But this is not exactly the case, as the cases exposed here in this special report show.

Data obtained by the Security Observatories Network through the Access to Information Law, together with the state government, reveal that of the 113 people killed by the police in Pernambuco in 2020, 109 were black. In Recife, there were 14 victims. They were all black.

This scenario reveals the structural racism that sustains the logic and actions of the public authority in the domain of public security.

Historically, that’s the way it has been.

"the justice system is not prepared to deal with police officers in the dock because THIS IS NOT THE FIGURE THEY ARE USED TO JUDGE"

– Maria Clara D’Ávila, lawyer

William

A SHOT IN THE CHEST

Joice Firmino da Silva, 40, was on duty at the hospital where she worked as a maid when she felt a pain in her chest late at night on January 12, 2020. “It was as if an iron was going in…”

Jhones

KILLED FROM BEHIND,
NO CHANCE OF DEFENSE

Jhones was hitchhiking on a friend’s motorcycle to get a tool at his grandmother’s house to fix an aunt’s washing machine. He was killed with a shot in the back of his head, without any chance of defense, during an approach by the military police

Marcone e Deyvison

AN ENTIRE FAMILY SHATTERED

Youngsters were working in the family’s shrimp farm located behind the victims’ homes, when they were found and shot by Military Police in black

Marcos Laurindo

THE PAIN OF
WAITING FOR JUSTICE

Lucia begged the soldier not to fire, hugging him from behind. She was pushed against the closet and saw and heard when two of the three shots hit her son

POLICE KILLS MORE
AND MORE IN BRAZIL

REPORTING TEAM: directed by: Jorge Cavalcanti and Laércio Portela | assistant director: Ana Navarrete and Rochelle Borges | screenplay: Ana Navarrete, Deila Martins, Edna Jatobá, Jorge Cavalcanti, Laércio Portela, Maria Clara D’Ávila, Rochelle Borges | camera: Lucas Medeiros and Rafael Medeiros | editing: Gustavo Pontual, João Teles, Lucas Medeiros, Wakko Nobre | voiceover and participation: MC Alaka | special guest: Adelaide Santos | design: Jota Bosco | translation: Carlos André de Moraes | graffiti: Júlio Insano and Pedro Stilo • GAJOP TEAM: communication consultancy: Ana Navarrete and Rochelle Borges | legal advice: Maria Clara D’Ávila and Sóstenes Rocha • PRODUCTION: Deila Martins, Edna Jatobá and Jorge Cavalcanti • SPECIAL THANK YOU: Boogarins Band, Marolas Crew, Johnny’s family, William’s family, Marcone and Deyvison’s family, Marcos Laurindo’s family and all other families seeking justice for the death of their loved ones • PARTNERS: Ford Foundation, OAK Foundation, Galo da Manhã and Open Society.

Realization

Partnership

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