Police raid in Rio de Janeiro favela leaves at least 25 dead

·1 min read

At least 25 people were killed on Thursday after Brazilian police raided the Jacarezinho favela in Rio de Janeiro.

Authorities told The Associated Press the operation was targeting drug traffickers in the favela who were trying to recruit kids, and one officer and 24 "criminals" were shot and killed. "They were all traffickers or criminals who tried to take the lives of our police officers and there was no other alternative," Felipe Curi, a detective with Rio's civil police, said during a news conference.

The raid began early Thursday, with police gaining access to the favela via bulletproof helicopters and armored vehicles, and lasted several hours. Police arrested six people and seized 16 pistols, 12 grenades, six rifles, a submachine gun, and a shotgun. There were multiple shootings across the favela, and a subway line had to be temporarily shut down after a stray bullet went through a car window, injuring two passengers.

The Jacarezinho favela is home to about 40,000 residents, and police say it is controlled by the Comando Vermhelho criminal organization. One witness told AP police entered her home and executed an unarmed man who was already wounded, an accusation authorities denied. Human Rights Watch Brazil is calling on the country's public prosecutor to look into any possible cases of police abuse.

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