Spanish – The hardline against crime was the promise that brought Jair Bolsonaro to the presidency of Brazil and is what keeps his popularity high. He now demands that there be legal security for police officers who kill criminals and that they not be held accountable for the killing.
“Between the life of a policeman and that of a thousand vagabonds, or 111 vagabonds, a very emblematic number”, will always choose “the life of the policeman,” exclaimed Bolsonaro in front of the Central de Abastos in São Paulo.
The president called those who oppose this measure “hypocrites.” He explained that “it is not a permit to kill, but the right not to die. A policeman has to fulfill his mission and then go home to rest without waiting for news from a justice officer,” insisted Bolsonaro.
The 111 he mentions is for the number of prisoners who died at the hands of the police during a riot in the prison of Carandirú, north of Sao Paulo. It happened in October 1992, and later, the prison was demolished.
Violent deaths in South America’s largest country have reached their lowest point in the last decade under Bolsonaro’s administration, according to the Public Security Institute.
Crime falls in Brazil
In the first eight months of Bolsonaro’s administration, the homicide rate dropped by more than 22%, while in cities like Rio de Janeiro, the number of criminals killed by the police increased by 16.2%.
There were 1,249 cases of deaths in confrontations with the police between January and August 2019, compared to 1,075 in the same period of 2018.
The president celebrated how in his first year of office, crime dropped, although gun ownership increased.
“The firearms registry grew by 50% this year compared to the same period in 2018. According to the ‘experts,’ the number of deaths should increase in Brazil, but in practice, the figure fell by 22%. I depend on the parliament to extend the right to possess arms to more citizens,” he said.
– Registro de armas de fogo cresceu 50% no corrente ano, levando-se em conta o mesmo período de 2018. Segundo "especialistas", o número de mortes deveria aumentar no Brasil, MAS na prática caiu 22%.
– Dependo do Parlamento para ampliar o direito a posse/porte para mais cidadãos. pic.twitter.com/kibR4Qk3A0
— Jair M. Bolsonaro (@jairbolsonaro) December 29, 2019
Similarly, providing legal security to the police when a criminal is killed and arms carrying by the civilian population now depend on parliamentary approval.
The opposition of human rights organizations
Local human rights organizations oppose both measures. They argue that Brazil’s security forces are among the most violent in the world.
To encourage his followers, Bolsonaro reminded them that in February 2021, the presidencies of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate would be renewed, and at that time, he intends to pursue the issue.
“We will again propose the exclusion of illegality,” he said during his visit to the wholesale market in Sao Paulo, considered the largest food distribution center in the country.
A police officer who killed thief appointed as deputy
The population’s support for the police who confront criminals was evidenced when a police officer who killed a thief was elected to congress when she was dressed in civilian clothes.
#Brasil: La mujer policía que mató a un criminal en la calle fue elegida diputada
Nota? https://t.co/OQ8hlnh8t5 pic.twitter.com/1XXvQT1ogx
— Data24.com.ar (@Data24comar) October 8, 2018
She was in the middle of a school zone, with children around her, and the thief held a gun. Then the police took out theirs and shot him.
Although she is not from the ruling party but the Republican Party, the election as a police deputy shows how Brazilian society honors its flag: order and progress.