Political Decisions in the Area of Public Security and the Action of Death Squads: The Case of the Violence Crisis in 2012 in São Paulo, Brazil

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 6:22 PM
Room: Booth 58
Oral Presentation
Mariana POSSAS , Sociology, Federal University of Bahia, Salvador, Brazil
Camila DIAS , Federal University of ABC, São Caetano, Brazil
Gorete MARQUES , University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
Ariadne NATAL , University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
The purpose of this communication is to present our findings of an original research that is being conducted at the Center for the Study of Violence of the University of São Paulo, regarding the cycle of violence that took place in the Metropolitan Area of São Paulo, which among other incidents, led to a crisis in the public security sector in the State, in the year of 2012.

Since there is no official data on the matter, our data were mainly collected from the media. According to it, during the second semester of that year 30 state agents, (specially Military Police officers) and 274 civilians were killed and 200 injured in similar situations – hooded men, shooting their victims from a motorcycle or a car in movement. This suggests that death squads or equivalent group strategies of execution were used. The novelty here seems to be, amongst others, the organization of groups oriented to killing out of duty police officers.

The research aims at identifying the trigger(s) of these sequences of actions, around which a dynamics of action-reaction seemed to be installed. For now, our main hypothesis is that previous political decisions, taken in the realm of public security policies, worked as the main trigger to initiate a process of mutual killings between members of the State of São Paulo Military Police and members of the PCC (First Capital’s Command) organized crime group.