By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A military police officer was killed during an Operação Lei Seca (Operation Dry Law) drunk driving blitz checkpoint in the Baixada Fluminense last night (April 4th) at around 10:30 PM.
According to the authorities, the agents determined that a car should stop at the barrier set up at Avenida Marinho Hemetério de Oliveira, in the center of Queimados (50 km from Centro Rio).
Government news sources report the three occupants of the vehicle were armed, disobeyed the order to stop and fired at the policemen. The agents reacted and in the confrontation, three people were shot.
An occupant of the vehicle died at the scene and two military police officers were injured, being taken to the Emergency Service Unit (UPA) of Queimados. One of the policemen died and the other was taken to the Central Military Police Hospital in Centro Rio, where he is still hospitalized and in stable condition.
Authorities say that in the eight years of the Operação Lei Seca, there have been shootings, but this is the first time that a police officer who participates in the operation dies during the exchange of shots.
Violence has been on a steep increase in the state, with crime statistics showing spikes in both police and criminal deaths. With one more resulting from this case, the number of military police deaths in 2017 rises to 48 in the state, ten in service, 29 in absentee and nine retired according to G1 news.
In a recent report by an NGO Justiça Global, in the first two months of 2017, 182 people were killed in conflicts with security agents in the State of Rio de Janeiro. According to the NGO, the country has a policy of militarization and increasing incarceration for the solution of public security problems, which is adding to the violence.
Data released by Rio de Janeiro’s Instituto de Segurança Publica – ISP (Public Security Institute) shows that February of 2017 was one of the most violent months in the state’s history, with violent death rates increasing by 28.1 percent and vehicle thefts by 40.3 percent in relation to February of 2016.