Spanish Woman Shot in the Favelas

In Rio, Brazil, a 67 year old woman was shot and killed following a misunderstanding with police. This shooting occurred inside of a favela. Favelas were started by the homeless and were essentially shanty towns, but have morphed entirely. Favelas are now highly populated communities, some even with electricity. They are extremely unsafe and density in population makes them very difficult to police. Favelas have very high crime rates and large amounts of drug trafficking. As a result of this, police are extremely brutal in an effort to deter crime. In some favelas, the people are more scared of the police than the drug dealers. The police brutality that occurred was not surprising because it’s new, it’s surprising because of its parallels and it’s differences to American police brutality. The article states that the police officer stopped when he realized that the woman was a tourist, which shows that if not racially motivated, it was a decision made based upon citizenship or socioeconomic status. In the United States, we alternatively view citizens as being more valuable and holding more rights than international tourists. It’s not viewed as inappropriate to open fire on the people of the favelas, but shooting one tourist lead the officer to being detained. This is greater than the repercussions that American officers face for brutality. This does present a question as to how effective police tactics are within the villas. Are they too harsh and violating the people’s civil rights? Or are they acting appropriately in response to crime levels and severity of crime? Would building adequate housing in the cities help to stop favela crime? It presents the issue of whether or not crime as a result of socioeconomic distress can be alleviated through force or social programs. The favela presents the same obstacles as the American slums, but the Brazilian government has chosen to highly police the area and send in military troops. This is opposed to putting in schools, running water, or employment opportunities which may improve the socioeconomic conditions in the favelas.


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