The Drug Trade as the Cause of Police Brutality in Brazil

Brazil has a lot going on – a crumbling economy, political turmoil, overpopulation, and, most recently, preparation for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Police brutality is a major issue in Brazil, but it seems to stem from one major source: drug trade. Since the 1960’s, the Brazilian government has been vehemently fighting the distribution, creation, possession, and sale of street drugs, and it seems like a never-ending conflict. Gangs are a major player in the underground drug trade industry, and are also heavily involved in other illicit practices, such as human trafficking and prostitution.

In any instance where street gangs are involved, it is only a matter of time before turf wars between them start happening, and sadly innocent citizens are also caught in the crossfire of these conflicts. But the gangs are not the only culprits for civilian casualties; indeed, the heavy-handed and often careless actions of the police against these gangs are often the cause of these deaths. Many believe that it’s not simply the gangs and trigger-happy police officers, though; Osmar Bernardes Jr.

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, a conservative blogger, argues “We must appreciate police work and improve their training. We should simplify the justice system to make it more efficient and fair.

We should also reform the criminal code to make sure the bad guy is punished more sternly, so criminals won’t go back to a life of crime, and reinstate the right to bear arms for good citizens (Salles, 2015).” The laws involving drugs can be overly strict, in some scenarios, and not strict enough in others, and too often those with minor involvement in the drug scheme receive the harsher punishments, while the dealers get off easy, either through loopholes in the justice system or bribing officials.

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Others argue that while the increased police involvement may reduce the drug violence, life in the communities can be improved and drug trade can be reduced by other means, like “opportunities for our young people, like job training and internships,” according to a local community planner (Darlington, 2014). With over 10,000 police killings between 2001 and 2010 over “suspicion of confrontation,” something has to be done about this (Gorman, 2014). One death is one too many, but when we are talking in the thousands, clearly there is a problem in the practice of this “law enforcement,” and the justice system would be a good place to start improvements.

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The Drug Trade as the Cause of Police Brutality in Brazil. (2022, Sep 10). Retrieved from

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