The Public Ministry of Rio de Janeiro announced on Tuesday (11) the creation of a task force with four prosecutors to investigate the deaths during the operation in the Jacarezinho favela, in the northern zone of Rio de Janeiro.
According to the attorney general, Luciano Mattos, the group has a four-month term of operation, which can be extended if necessary.
The group will conduct an investigation apart from that conducted by the Homicide Division on the deaths. The procedure is a determination of the STF (Supreme Federal Court) in ADPF 635, which deals with police operations in Rio de Janeiro.
“There is a PIC [procedimento investigatório criminal] which will make the investigation independent in nature, “said Mattos.
The MP-RJ sent an expert from the institution to accompany the analysis of the bodies at the IML.
“We followed the IML exams with an expert to guarantee the exemption,” said Mattos.
Investigation will target the death of 27 civilians, policeman André Frias, five attempted homicides against police officers and the two people injured inside the subway station during the operation.
The announcement is made after charges on the MP-RJ for having closed down Gaesp (Specialized Public Security Action Group), which was investigating part of the deaths caused by police officers.
The extinction of the group is part of the reformulation made by Mattos in the specialized groups of the MP-RJ. He considered that the teams were inflated, over-assigned and undermined the work of ordinary prosecutors.
The attorney general used the case to state his position on the groups’ actions. He highlighted the fact that the task force coordinator, the prosecutor André Cardoso, is the natural prosecutor of the case – members linked to a prosecutor who receives cases automatically, by legal assignment.
“Natural distribution is a guarantee for the police and the police. It was not chosen by the attorney general,” said Mattos.
The end of the group and the referral of the case to natural prosecutors was a concern of the NGO Human Rights Watch in investigating the case.
“This was the configuration before the creation of Gaesp in December 2015, and that presented a series of problems that contributed to the successive failures of Rio de Janeiro’s attorney general’s to effectively exercise the police’s external control”, said the entity.
Among the problems listed is the excess of procedures handled by these prosecutors, the lack of specialization in investigating crimes committed by state agents and the possible proximity to police officers with whom the prosecutors worked in other cases.
Cardoso said he does not yet know the names of the police officers involved in the death. He also said that if he knows any, that does not prevent him from acting.
“The situations of suspicion and impediment are foreseen in the CPP [Código de Processo Penal]. None of them are present. Prosecutors work with police and judges around the clock. This has nothing to do with professional activity “, said the prosecutor.
Cardoso did not give his impressions on the case. He said he took the testimony of some relatives of victims and said that he did not even know the names of the police officers involved.
He also declined to comment on the fact that the police opposed the STF’s decision to take the bodies of the dead by agents to the hospital.