MPF questions PRF’s participation in an operation in a favela in Rio and the legitimacy of the action

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The Federal Public Ministry (MPF) will hear, starting next week, the agents of the Federal Highway Police (PRF) involved in a major operation in Vila Cruzeiro, North Zone of Rio de Janeiro, which resulted, so far, in 25 deaths.

The participation of the police is questioned by prosecutor Eduardo Benones, who is investigating whether there was a misuse of duty. Although it is not the responsibility of the PRF to act in the city’s slums – but to monitor and ostensibly police federal highways – the PRF attributes to the action taken this Tuesday (24) in the region to arrest criminal leaders who are hiding in the community, which is why which the corporation joined the Military Police (PM) in the operation that lasted about 12 hours.

In a statement, the PM said that “it is not possible to consider an operation with a death result to be successful, especially involving the loss of life of an innocent person – Mrs. Gabrielle”. Gabriela Ferreira da Cunha, 41, was reportedly hit by a stray bullet during the intervention in the community and did not survive her injuries.

For the MPF, the planning of months and the communication to the State Public Ministry does not make the operation a legitimate action.

“Operations in communities are prohibited by the STF [Supremo Tribunal Federal] until the end of the pandemic is decreed. They have to prove, and not just say, that there is an exceptionality, an emergency situation. It doesn’t look like this was the case. The warrants they said they were carrying out are from 2014 and 2015,” said prosecutor Eduardo Benones, head of the External Control Center for Police Activity in Rio de Janeiro.

The prosecutor initiated a Criminal Investigation Procedure (PIC) and requested the autopsy reports from the Legal Medical Institute (IML). Community residents will also be heard in the investigation conducted by the MPF’s External Control Center for Police Activity in Rio de Janeiro.

The participation of Highway Patrol officers generated criticism from the prosecutor’s office and from specialists in public safety. According to art. 144 of the Federal Constitution, the PRF “is intended, according to the law, for the ostensible patrolling of federal highways”. However, no federal highway cuts through the community in the North Zone of Rio. For Colonel Robson Rodrigues, former Chief of Staff of the Military Police, there was a deviation in function.

“The agency’s mission is ostensible patrolling on federal highways, therefore, it was outside its functional and geographic scope. Unless there was a flagrante delicto, a pursuit of a specific criminal, that action could be justified. Despite the failure, the operation would have greater legal weight if conducted by the Civil or Federal Police, which are police officers responsible for investigation and intelligence work,” he told the newspaper. CNN .

The joint operation between the PRF and the PM is already the second deadliest in Rio. Six people remain hospitalized, including a police officer.

In a note sent on Tuesday, the corporation reported that the action was aimed at locating and arresting criminal leaders who are hiding in the community, including criminals from other states, such as Alagoas, Bahia and Pará.

The statement also says that the teams of the Special Police Operations Battalion (BOPE) and the PRF were preparing to start the incursion when criminals started firing firearms in the upper part of the community. During the action, including in a forested area, confrontation occurred. After the shooting stopped, eleven criminals were found injured and 11 rifles, four pistols and grenades were seized.

The Public Ministry of the State of Rio de Janeiro also opened an investigation to investigate the conduct of the BOPE military police. The MP-RJ gave BOPE 10 days to send a report clarifying the circumstances of the deaths caused by the police operation.

BOPE will have to listen to the agents involved in the operation, appoint those responsible for the deaths and clarify the legality of each one. In addition, the Civil Police’s General Department of Homicide and Protection of Persons was requested to send information about the police investigations launched to the MP.

Source: CNN Brasil

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