• Marielle Franco, Black Queer Women, and Police Violence in Brazil – AAIHS

    Maria de Fatima dos Santos, Alessandra de Jesus, Joana Darc Brito and Cláudia da Silva Ferreira are also just a few of the Afro-Brazilian women who lost their lives to police violence within the last five years. Maria de Fatima dos Santos and her daughter, Alessandra de Jesus, were killed in an alley during a police operation in Costa Barros, which was also in Rio, in 2013. In 2014, Darc Brito was shot and killed in Complexo do Lins, a neighborhood in northern Rio de Janeiro. When her neighbors attempted to assist Darc Brito and take her to the hospital, they were vehemently denied by the police. Later, when given the opportunity to take her to the hospital, she died en route. During the same year, Cláudia da Silva Ferreira, a 38-year old mother of four, was also shot during a police operation in Rio–this time in Madureira. Video footage shows police placing Ferreira into the car but when the car door opened by accident, she was dragged 1,000 feet before the police car stopped. Ferreira later died at the hospital.

    This pattern of violence can be traced back even further in Brazil’s history. In October 1994 and May 1995, police raided the favela of Complexo do Alemão in Rio de Janeiro, killing twenty-six people, raping one woman, and torturing and sexually assaulting two children. Known as the Nova Brasília massacres, it was not until May 12, 2017–20 years after the gruesome police invasion–that survivors received some semblance of justice when the Inter-American Court of Human Rights condemned, indicted and sanctioned Brazil. The Court also highlighted that “women who live in communities where there are ‘clashes” generally face particular types of violence, and are threatened, attacked, injured, insulted and even subjected to sexual violence by the police.” According to Jurema Werneck, executive director of Amnesty International Brazil, “this judgement shines a long overdue light on the appalling human rights violations perpetrated by Rio’s police force against young, poor, black individuals who were unarmed.”