BRASILIA – Eight military police officers were arrested Saturday on suspicion of torturing four youths in this Brazilian metropolis, officials said.
The Military Police of Rio de Janeiro State said it ordered the officers’ arrest after finding evidence of their involvement in the alleged torture of four motorcycle-riding young people who were stopped at a police checkpoint on Christmas night.
The youths, whose identities were not revealed, said the police burned them with cigarette lighters, cut them with a hot knife and even forced one of them to perform oral sex on one of the officers, according to media reports.
The incident occurred in Santa Teresa, a neighborhood near downtown Rio de Janeiro that is surrounded by shantytowns, or “favelas,” but is also a popular nightspot.
The youths were returning from a party when they were stopped by police because some members of the group were not wearing helmets, the local press reported.
The authorities confirmed that the detained officers were on-duty at the time with a police pacification unit, or UPP.
Five years ago, the Rio de Janeiro state government adopted a pacification policy that calls for establishing robust public services and a permanent police presence through the UPPs in shantytowns that had previously been dominated by criminal gangs.