25 killed in one of Rio's most violent police raids

At least 25 people were killed in a violent shootout in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday, in one of the state's deadliest police raids yet.

TV images showed drug traffickers in the Jacarezinho neighborhood trying to escape, running across rooftops as police arrived in armored vehicles and helicopters flew overhead.

Forcing residents to shelter in their homes, the firefight was the deadliest police operation in Rio in over a decade.

The state has long suffered from drug-related violence.

Police said the victims included suspected members and leaders of the drug-trafficking gang which dominates life in the slum, as well as one police officer.

Police said in addition to drug trafficking, the gang robbed trucks of cargo and held up commuter trains to steal from passengers.

At a news conference on Thursday, police displayed an arsenal of seized weapons including a machine gun, six assault rifles, and dozens of handguns and grenades.

Human rights groups were quick to condemn Thursday's bloodbath.

Amnesty International lambasted the police for the "reprehensible and unjustifiable" loss of life in an impoverished neighborhood mostly populated by Black people.

According to Human Rights Watch, Rio police killed over 450 people in raids during the first three months of the year, and at least four police officers have died.

That's despite a Supreme Court ruling prohibiting these operations during the pandemic, except in "absolutely exceptional cases."

Rights groups say that Rio's prosecutors have a constitutional obligation to oversee the police, and have called for a thorough and independent investigation into the shootout.

Video Transcript

- At least 25 people were killed in a violent shootout in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday, in one of the state's deadliest police raids yet. TV images showed drug traffickers in the Jacarezinho neighborhood trying to escape, running across rooftops as police arrived in armored vehicles and helicopters flew overhead.

Forcing residents to shelter in their homes, the firefight was the deadliest police operation in Rio in over a decade. The state has long suffered from drug-related violence. Police said the victims included suspected members and leaders of the drug-trafficking gang which dominates life in the slum, as well as one police officer. Police said in addition to drug-trafficking, the gang robbed trucks of cargo and held up commuter trains to steal from passengers.

At a news conference on Thursday, police displayed an arsenal of seized weapons, including a machine gun, six assault rifles, and dozens of handguns and grenades. Human rights groups were quick to condemn Thursday's bloodbath. Amnesty International lambasted the police for the, quote, "reprehensible and unjustifiable" loss of life in an impoverished neighborhood mostly populated by Black people.

According to Human Rights Watch, Rio police have killed over 450 people in raids during the first three months of the year, and at least four police officers have died. That's despite a Supreme Court ruling prohibiting these operations during the pandemic except in absolutely exceptional cases. Rights groups say that Rio's prosecutors have a constitutional obligation to oversee the police, and have called for a thorough and independent investigation into the shootout.