September 23, 2018
Latest News

Halt firing at favelas from helicopters, public defender asks Brazil court

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Jun 20 (efe-epa) .- The Public Defender's Office of Rio de Janeiro Wednesday demanded before a state court that it prohibit the police from firing weapons from helicopters in counter-narcotics operations in Rio's shanty towns, after a police operation killed six people and injured one more on Wednesday.

Representatives of the Public Defender's Office filed an appeal to the Rio de Janeiro court, demanding a precautionary measure that prohibits such police operations, especially in the shanty towns known locally as "favelas" or other densely-populated areas.

The request was filed after several non-governmental organizations released videos of a low-flying police helicopter at the Mare favelas complex during a counter-narcotics operation that killed six suspected drug traffickers and injured an innocent teenager who was hit by a stray bullet on his way to school.

"It is unacceptable and disgusting to see a helicopter that shot at a community full of innocents," said Luke Dowdney, founder and director of non-governmental Luta Pela Paz.

Public defender for human rights Daniel Lozoya said the use of police helicopters that fire indiscriminately at densely-populated urban areas while moving at high speed is "absurdly reckless."

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