"The police came to kill": in Rio de Janeiro, bloody raid in a favela
A police officer carried on a stretcher arrives at the Getulio Vargas hospital, after being injured during an operation in a favela, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 24, 2022.

He wants to show the trajectory followed by the ball. From his water supply outside his house, through the refrigerator glued to the wooden wall, to the jagged curtain, hiding a windowless vent at the end of the single room. He did not find the projectile which must have been lost in the forest in the distance, but the impacts are clearly visible: both his water supply and his refrigerator are unusable. The man says to himself “survived by miracle”lying on the bed one meter from the fridge and mimicking the whistle and the course of the ammunition just above his face: “I was sleeping with my wife and daughter, the bullet went no more than 20 centimeters from our faces. »

Lawyers from the Public Defense Office, responsible for investigating police abuses, are busy in the wooden barracks, located in the small favela of Terra Prometida (Promised Land), in Rio de Janeiro. They came to collect testimonies in this informal neighborhood where several bodies were found after the police operation on Tuesday, May 24 which left at least twenty-six dead and three injured, one of the deadliest interventions in history. from Rio. “The police killed him just behind the house, I saw everything”, says the man’s wife. She shows the lawyers a space between the wooden slats where you can see the clothes drying. “They killed him with a knife, he was injured, he had no weapon. » Her husband points to the bloodstains.

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Rio State Defender General Andrea Castro confirms: “Killing with knives is a common practice of officers of the special battalion of the military police, the BOPE, known for its numerous violations and its cruelty. » For fear of reprisals, the couple do not want to give their name or their telephone number, but end up taking that of the lawyers. “I just want help to leave and forget this night”, said the woman.

An operation of more than eight hours

The police operation in this complex of favelas in the northern zone of Rio began at 4 a.m. in the favela of Vila Cruzeiro, before extending to Terra Prometida, and lasted more than eight hours. It is on the road that leads to this small favela, wedged between the complexes of Penha and Alemão, that there are the most deaths. Around noon, the public defense team requested the establishment of a humanitarian corridor to be able to evacuate several wounded.

“The police came to kill, they took in a vice all those who were in their path. » Erivelton Vidal, president of the association of inhabitants of the favela Vila Cruzeiro

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