By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A retired military police (MP) officer, Reginaldo Pedrosa Gomes, was shot to death in Comendador Soares, in the Baixada Fluminense, at dawn today (Sunday, December 10th). Authorities report that he is the 126th MP killed in the state this year.
According to information from the 20th Military Police Battalion of Mesquita, Gomes was involved in an argument when leaving a concert hall and was killed by a man who fled afterwards. Retired since 2004, the ex-officer was 45 years old and single.
A government news agency reported that of the 126 military police violently killed in Rio de Janeiro since January, 26 were murdered in service; 77 when they were off duty; and 23 were retired police officers.
This happened just days after the Military Police of the State of Rio de Janeiro held the graduation ceremony of 151 new officers. The ceremony was held at the Center for Training and Improvement of Squares (CFAP) in Sulacap on Friday (December 8th).
“We are part of an institution that is essential to guarantee public order and ensure the fundamental rights of all citizens,” said PM Commander General Colonel Wolney Dias.
Currently, the training encompasses 32 disciplines, totaling 1,437 classroom hours that include subjects of Citizen Police, Human Rights, Types of Policing, Criminal Sociology and Use of Non-lethal Weapons.
Despite this, Rio de Janeiro is in the midst of a security crisis, even after making significant progress in the lead up to the World Cup and Olympics. Unfortunately, the military police arm of the state security forces has a reputation for indiscriminate violence and corruption.
In late October it was reported that Brazil registered more than 61,000 violent deaths in 2016, a growth of 3.8 percent compared to 2015, and the highest level in the country’s history, according to the Brazilian Public Security Forum’s yearbook.
Some of the most disturbing data on the report is the increase, by 25.8 percent, of violent deaths caused by police officers.