Video Contradicts Self-Defense Explanation in Killing of 15-year-old Boy

Military police raided the favela of Palmeirinha, killing 15-year-old Alan de Souza Lima and leaving a 19-year-old injured with a bullet to the chest. Police said the shootings happened as their vehicle came under attack by four armed men.



Four days later, a video of the raid from Lima's cell phone was shared online by an independent media outlet. It shows that Lima and his group of friends had been standing on the street telling jokes when police ran towards them, firing.



Once the video was released, contradicting official accounts, the head of the military police said that the nine officers involved would be investigated. The commander of the nine officers was also let go from his duties, and  the Rio de Janeiro police department stated that they will start investigating "resistance killings"--those in which police shoot when they are fired upon--in light of the video.

According to local media, in January of 2015 alone, 64 people were killed by the military police in Rio de Janeiro. Activists have long alleged widespread misconduct by officers, such as planting evidence or falsifying reports, to cover up extrajudicial killings, but rarely are the cases investigated or reported in mass media. Video in this case was critical in resulting in disciplinary action for police officers and exposing the larger pattern of police misconduct to a larger audience.