Rio Civil Police On Strike Prior To 2016 Summer Olympics, Heightening Concern Over Epidemic Of Police Brutality

Ahead of the Rio De Janeiro hosted 2016 Summer Olympics, civil police officers have chosen to go on strike due to a financial crisis that has left them without paychecks for their hard work.

The strikes occur at a horrible time as Rio prepares to host the 2016 Summer Olympics, and crimes in the country have risen to levels not seen in many years. The entire region has seen a marked increase in police brutality against the citizens, according to Fox Business. Homicide rates are up 15 percent since January, and street robbery is up 24 percent. With an influx of foreign guests during the Summer Olympics, it is expected that street robbery and other petty crimes will increase exponentially during the Olympics.

Despite the strikes, it is expected that nearly 85,000 civil and military officers will patrol the Olympic venues. However, with current officers not being paid, it is unsure if the additional officers will receive pay from a separate funding source or if they will provide adequate security due to poor training. Some fear that the individuals brought in to patrol the Summer Olympics may rely on violence due to a lack of training.

Since the announcement of Rio's hosting of the 2016 Summer Olympics, more than 600 families in Rio have been victims of excessive violence and officer-involved deaths. In many cases, crooked police officers have planted false evidence in an attempt to excuse the violence and remain in control. In a report filed by the Human Rights Watch, the query as to why the police on the up and up do not step in and take their forces back to regain the trust of the residents was asked. The response was rather telling as the report stated that they are simply afraid to step in.

"Good cops are afraid."
Although each police initiated killing is well documented, according to the Washington Post, most of the reports say little about the officers that incite the killings and focus on the victims and the wrong that occurred.

One officer, going by the fake name "Danilo," told the Washington Post that the uptick in police-led violence might have originated from a plan to rid the poor communities of drug traffickers by using any means necessary.

"Killing criminals was required as good performance by my superior,"
Many recent visitors to Rio have been greeted by the striking officers, often holding signs that read "Welcome to Hell" as a means to let the visitors know what they are getting themselves into and a warning to watch their backs and play it safe. Many visitors are told to only take what is necessary because the chances are that they will be robbed.

Amnesty International has spoken up about Rio and the 2016 Summer Olympics, warning the expected 300,000 visitors that Rio is not going to be as safe as they expect it to be and that they should keep their guards up.

Marselha Gonçalves Margerin, Amnesty International USA's Advocacy Director for the Americas, states that she is not telling people not to come to Rio to enjoy the games, but she hopes her warning will prompt Rio to place a more intense focus on safety for its visitors.

"Amnesty is not against the Games. Amnesty is not calling to boycott the Games,. We're just concerned – and the numbers are showing – that [the police brutality crisis] is exacerbated by the upcoming Olympics. We're using this as an opportunity to call attention to this issue and continue asking for accountability."
[Photo Via: Andre Luiz Moreira/Shutterstock]