RIO DE JANEIRO – The Public Defender’s Office of Rio de Janeiro demanded on Wednesday before a state court that it prohibit the police from firing weapons from helicopters in counter-narcotics operations in Rio’s shanty towns, after a police operation killed six people and injured one more on Wednesday.
Representatives of the Public Defender’s Office filed an appeal to the Rio de Janeiro court, demanding a precautionary measure that prohibits such police operations, especially in the shanty towns known locally as “favelas” or other densely-populated areas.
The request was filed after several non-governmental organizations released videos of a low-flying police helicopter at the Mare favelas complex during a counter-narcotics operation that killed six suspected drug traffickers and injured an innocent teenager who was hit by a stray bullet on his way to school.
“It is unacceptable and disgusting to see a helicopter that shot at a community full of innocents,” said Luke Dowdney, founder and director of non-governmental Luta Pela Paz.
Public defender for human rights Daniel Lozoya said the use of police helicopters that fire indiscriminately at densely-populated urban areas while moving at high speed is “absurdly reckless.”