By David Biller | 22 December 2018
As many as 120 sharpshooters will accompany police incursions into the slums of Brazil’s postcard city to exterminate gun-toting criminals, according to Flavio Pacca, a longtime associate of Witzel who the governor-elect’s press office said will join the administration. The shooters will work in pairs — one to pull the trigger, one to monitor conditions and videotape deaths.
“The protocol will be to immediately neutralize, slaughter anyone who has a rifle,” Witzel, a federal judge and former Brazilian marine, told reporters in Brasilia on Dec. 12. “Whoever has a rifle isn’t worried about other people’s lives, they’re ready to eliminate anyone who crosses their path. This is a grave problem, not just in Rio de Janeiro, but also in other states.”
Rio has long exemplified Brazil’s charm and its chaos, and what happens there echoes at home and abroad. Like President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, Witzel cruised to victory in October promising a brutal crackdown on criminals who make daily life a harrowing ordeal. Rio will be a proving ground for Bolsonaro’s philosophy of maximum force — and whether law enforcement devolves into a storm of extrajudicial killings. […]