Brazilian police make the Coster Mob look almost peaceful in comparison

from the L.A. Times

RIO DE JANEIRO —  On the day she was to face her son’s killers, Glaucia dos Santos rose early, smoothed her hair into a ponytail and donned a T-shirt emblazoned with a single word: “Gratitude.”

It may have seemed like a surprising choice given what she was about to do: travel three hours by bus from her home on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro to a downtown courthouse, where the two police officers who had gunned down her 17-year-old in 2014 were being tried for murder.

But she felt lucky.

In Brazil, where even the most egregious abuses by police are rarely punished, trials like this one were practically unheard of. Against all odds, and thanks only to her own dogged detective work, Dos Santos now had a shot at justice.

Her eight-year battle for a day in court had come amid a surge of killings by police that had made Brazil’s law enforcement agencies among the world’s most lethal.

Police killed 6,145 people here last year, according to the nonprofit Brazilian Forum on Public Safety — an average of almost 17 a day and nearly triple the 2013 total.

Taking population size into account, officers killed at roughly nine times the rate of U.S. law enforcement.

Read the rest