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  • private war

    Police and drug traffickers in rio de janeiro are born into the same poverty. They are brothers essentially, living in the same houses, frequenting the same parties, each striving for success and a chance at getting out of the favela. Some choose the legal path, others the illegal, yet they are fighting a war against each other fueled by drugs and a lack of government support and basic services inside their impoverished communities. With very low wages almost 95% of military and civil police officers of rio de janeiro hold second or sometimes even third jobs to support their families, mainly but not limited to the private security industry. Some drive taxis, do carpentry, and even teach in schools. The inadequate salary creates an easy environment as well as a tolerance for corruption and police officer’s illegal involvement in drug trafficking as well as other lucrative activities. In 2008 the city of rio implemented and experimental program known as “pacification.” although the program which installed a new group of police presence in many of the city’s favelas showed positive changes, over time, the lack of social programs in those communities and other factors have caused violence in the city to again spiral out of control. Large parts of the west and northern city suburbs are rife with crime and corrupted police known as “milicia” have gained even more control of neighborhoods, while drug traffickers and other crime rings have migrated to other cities across the country.

  • B.O.P.E. (Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais) military police officers conduct training tactics in the pacified favela, Tavaras Bastos next to their headquarters.
  • Tear gas training of B.O.P.E. (Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais) recruited soldiers. The soldiers, who are already military police are undergoing a one month intense training to become part of the elite B.O.P.E. squad. The class began at 41 members, finishing at 8.
  • The body of military police officer Leonardo Pereira Barute, 34 years old lies in a coffin after he was executed while off duty watching a soccer game in his local bar. It is suspected that he was killed by drug traffickers. The firemen who recovered his body are accused of having stolen his gold chain. Almost every week a police officer is killed in Rio, the majority of whom are military police officers and are off duty at the time they are killed.
  • Refrigerators line the wall at the forensics morgue in Rio De Janeiro which sees on average 20 bodies a day, 90% of which are shooting and drug traffic related deaths.
  • A statue of Saint George, an ancient Roman Soldier known as a worrier who is celebrated as a martyr. The symbol of Saint George has special significance for Police, many of whom wear pendents of him around their necks for good fortune. Ironically his statue can also be seen in almost every favela in Rio and is respected and revered by drug traffickers alike. This statue lies in the soccer square in the recently pacified favela of Provedencia which is the oldest and first favela of Rio. After the police have occupied and driven out the drug dealers there are plans under way to turn the slum into a tourist attraction.
  • Friends and fellow police officers grieve at the funeral of Rinaldo Figueiredo dos Santos who was executed while off duty watching a game of soccer in his local bar in Iraja. Rinaldo is suspected to have been involved in the militia and killed by drug traffickers. Almost every week a police officer is killed in Rio, the majority of whom are military police officers and are off duty at the time they are killed.
  • Fight training of B.O.P.E. (Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais) recruited soldiers focuses on apprehension and arresting of the offender. The soldiers, who are already military police are undergoing a one month intense training to become part of the elite BOPE squad. The class began at 41 members, finishing at 8.
  • B.O.P.E. (Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais) special military police officer searches a house in Borel during the pacification of the favela Borel as part of a 5 favel pacification, first ever seen in the North Zone of the city of Rio. The pacification of Borel will be a long lasting police occupation which drives out and and keeps out drug traffickers.
  • Young Pacifier Police Unit (UPP) officer Flavio Camilo with his one day old daughter Camili. Flavio, 32 works as a police officer in the pacified community of Santa Marta, one of the most safest communities in Rio after the drug traffickers were driven out and have been kept out since 2008. Ironically as a result of the pacification of Santa Marta and other South Zone favelas, many of the fugitive drug traffickers have migrated to the North Zone where Flavio, just outside the notorious Red Command Drug Faction stronghold of Vila Cruziero. He lives in between two favelas, one controlled by drug traffickers, the other by militia and options to not carry a gun or his police identity card while he is off duty because of the imminent risk of execution. His lives in a 2 bedroom apartment, of his parents in law, sleeping on the floor with his wife, their new baby and his 13 year old step daughter. There are 5 other family members sleeping in the house. Flavio sells wholesale clothing and works as a carpenter and a security guard on and off to supplement his low wage as a police officer. He is working on renovating a new apartment he has bought to try to get out of the house of his in-laws.
  • A civil police officer inspects the contents of a package of apprehended drugs which turns out to be pure crack-cocaine during the burning of apprehended drugs. Roughly every 3 months all apprehended drugs in Rio are burned in a local company incinerator on the outskirts of the city. Often between 3 and 7 tons of drugs are burned. The truck filled with drugs is escorted with armed police cars, driving at high speeds through some of the most dangerous regions of the city to avoid potential ambush and theft of the coveted drugs.
  • CB Filho, B.O.P.E. (Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais) officer cleans his gun as he checks into a days work. Filho has been a B.O.P.E. officer for 12 years and a military officer for 15. He works a second job as a television double stunt and special effects to put his daughter in private school and to feed the family. He lives in the favela Tavaras Bastos next door to B.O.P.E headquarters which he worked to pacify 10 years ago, and as a result met his wife. Filho comes from Bangu, in the West Zone of Rio, known for brutal violence and Militia control.
  • A lesson on sniper training of B.O.P.E. (Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais) recruited soldiers focuses on killing the enemy, the drug trafficers. The soldiers, who are already military police are undergoing a one month intense training to become part of the elite B.O.P.E. squad. The class began at 41 members, finishing at 8.
  • A young suspected drug trafficker lies dead in the morgue with two shots to the head. The forensics morgue in Rio De Janeiro sees on average 20 bodies a day, 90% of which are shooting and drug traffic related deaths.
  • Young Pacifier Police Unit (UPP) officer Flavio Camilo doing carpentry work. Flavio, 32 works as a police officer in the pacified community of Santa Marta, one of the most safest communities in Rio after the drug traffickers were driven out and have been kept out since 2008. Ironically as a result of the pacification of Santa Marta and other South Zone favelas, many of the fugitive drug traffickers have migrated to the North Zone where Flavio, just outside the notorious Red Command Drug Faction stronghold of Vila Cruziero. He lives in between two favelas, one controlled by drug traffickers, the other by militia and options to not carry a gun or his police identity card while he is off duty because of the imminent risk of execution. His lives in a 2 bedroom apartment, of his parents in law, sleeping on the floor with his wife, their new baby and his 13 year old step daughter. There are 5 other family members sleeping in the house. Flavio sells wholesale clothing and works as a carpenter and a security guard on and off to supplement his low wage as a police officer. He is working on renovating a new apartment he has bought to try to get out of the house of his in-laws.
  • Ryan, 4 years old on the bed in the room he shares with many family members who crowd into a 2 room apartment in the neighborhood of Penha. Ryan's grandparents recently left and rented out their home in Vila Cruziero, the notoriously violent favela and stronghold of the Red Command Drug Faction. The family left the favela to escape the violence and because of 4 assassination attempts by the drug lords on his grandfather who was the president of the favela association for 10 years as well as the increasing risk of retaliation because of his uncle, Flavio Camilo who is a police officer.
  • Villa Cruzeiro, the stronghold favela of the largest drug gang in Rio De Janeiro, Comando Vermelho.
  • Military Police Priest and Fellow Young Pacifier Police Unit (UPP) officers of the pacified community of Santa Marta mourn the death of their young colleague Willian Soarez who was killed with his girlfriend when they were stopped at gunpoint by bandits attempting to rob his motorcycle. Willian like most police officers was carrying a gun in off duty hours but was unable to defend himself and his girlfriend against the criminals. Almost every week a police officer is killed in Rio, the majority of whom are military police officers and are off duty at the time they are killed. Ironically Willian worked in the safest favela in Rio, Santa Marta, after it was pacified in 2008. The pacification of Santa Marta is a long lasting police occupation which drove out and and has kept out drug traffickers. The government tactic has been to pacify the majority of the South Zone, or rather tourist zone of the city, driving fugitive drug traffickers to other parts of the city such as the North Zone, Niteroi, and Sao Goncalo (where Willian lives and was killed) increasing crime rates in those areas.
  • Agatha, daughter in law of Young Pacifier Police Unit (UPP) officer Flavio Camilo holding her newborn sister in their neighborhood of Penha. Agatha along with her mother, grandparents and other families recently moved out of the favela Vila Cruzeiro in which she was born and raised as a result of increasing violence and 4 assassination attempts on her grandfather who is the former President of the Favela Association. After the marriage of Agatha's mother, Alessandra and her step-father, Officer Camilo the family avoids the favela for fear of violent retalliation of Camilo as he is a police officer.
  • Ex drug trafficker, Rafael of the favela Rocinha was left the traffic life through the help of Pastor Marcus Pereira, an evangelist pastor who aims to help rescue young boys from a dead end future of drug trafficking. The pastor travels around favela communities and many prisons in Rio bringing together inmates form rival drug gang factions and militia police officers as well. Many come to live in his church with no where else to go. Most continue on with the church, however some go back to the tempting life of easy money, drugs, guns and women.
  • April 2010: B.O.P.E. (Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais) special military police officer interrogates a young boy who was later taken in for further questioning in Borel during the pacification of the favela Borel as part of a 5 favel pacification, first ever seen in the North Zone of the city of Rio. The pacification of Borel will be a long lasting police occupation which drives out and and keeps out drug traffickers.
  • Pastor Marcus Pereira evangelizes two young boys in the holding cell of Duque De Caxias in the 59th Civil Police precinct. The pastor travels around many prisons in Rio bringing together inmates form rival drug gang factions and militia police officers as well.
  • Mother in law of Young Pacifier Police Unit (UPP) officer Flavio Camilo sets her hair in her house in the neighborhood of Penha. She and her husband recently moved out of the favela Vila Cruzeiro and rented out their 2 story house as a result of increasing violence and 4 assassination attempts on her her husband, Wilson who is the former President of the Favela Association. After the marriage of Alessandra and Camilo the family avoids the favela for fear of violent retalliation of Camilo as he is a police officer.
  • Inside the sleeping quarters of B.O.P.E. (Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais) special military forces headquarters. The soldiers often play pool and video games to pass time between police operations. The environment is one of which recalls military brotherhood.
  • Fellow Young Pacifier Police Unit (UPP) officers of the pacified community of Santa Marta mourn the death of their young colleague Willian Soarez who was killed with his girlfriend when they were stopped at gunpoint by bandits attempting to rob his motorcycle. Willian like most police officers was carrying a gun in off duty hours but was unable to defend himself and his girlfriend against the criminals. Almost every week a police officer is killed in Rio, the majority of whom are military police officers and are off duty at the time they are killed. Ironically Willian worked in the safest favela in Rio, Santa Marta, after it was pacified in 2008. The pacification of Santa Marta is a long lasting police occupation which drove out and and has kept out drug traffickers. The government tactic has been to pacify the majority of the South Zone, or rather tourist zone of the city, driving fugitive drug traffickers to other parts of the city such as the North Zone, Niteroi, and Sao Goncalo (where Willian lives and was killed) increasing crime rates in those areas.
  • Rifle training of B.O.P.E. (Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais) recruited soldiers. The soldiers, who are already military police are undergoing a one month intense training to become part of the elite B.O.P.E. squad. The class began at 41 members, finishing at 8.
  • Rafael Goudard Lopes Civil Police Academy recruit playing his guitar in his free time at home. Rafael lives at the foot of a drug traffic controlled favela in Niteroi called Boa Vista.
  • Rafael Goudard Lopes' target practice sheet lays on his bed. Rafael is in training to become a Civil Police officer of Rio De Janeiro. He lives at the foot of a Drug Traffic controlled Favela in Niteroi called Boa Vista.
  • Rafael Rodrigues, 27 cuts the hair of his 4 year old son. Rafael's parents recently left and rented out their home in Vila Cruziero, the notoriously violent favela and stronghold of the Red Command Drug Faction. The family left the favela to escape the violence and because of 4 assassination attempts by the drug lords on his father who was the president of the favela association for 10 years as well as the increasing risk of retaliation because of his brother in law, Flavio Camilo who is a police officer. Rafael still lives inside Vila Cruzeiro with his girlfriend in a small apartment, despite the family's exodus. Some families are home to both sides, the police and the traffic.
  • The coffin of military police officer Andre Luiz dos Santos, 39 years old of the Military Police 16th Battalion which conducts the majority of it's police operations within Complexo Do Alemao, the Drug Traffic stronghold of the faction Red Command. Andre was killed during a fierce gun battle in the Complexo. Almost every week a police officer is killed in Rio, the majority of whom are military police officers and are off duty at the time they are killed.
  • Young boys of the favela Morro Pavao during a police operation to pacify the favela. The pacification of Pavao is a method which has been used in other favelas in Rio such as the famous Cidade De Deus in which police occupy the favela for a given amount of time, driving out and keeping out drug traffickers. The government tactic has been to pacify the majority of the South Zone, or rather tourist zone of the city, driving fugitive drug traffickers to other parts of the city such as the North Zone, Niteroi, and Sao Goncalo, increasing crime rates in those areas.