Two Brazil military police officers held over shooting death of Spanish tourist

Mara Esperanza Jimnez Ruiz killed when vehicle failed to stop at checkpoint but police say: Not following a police order does not justify shooting

Two military police officers have been arrested in connection with the shooting death of a Spanish tourist who was on a guided tour of one of Brazils largest slums, an official said on Tuesday.

Police said Mara Esperanza Jimnez Ruiz was shot in the neck on Monday when the vehicle she was travelling in failed to stop at a police checkpoint in Rio de Janeiros Rocinha neighbourhood. The 67-year-old was taken to a hospital but died from her injuries.

Officers said they could not see inside the car because it had darkly tinted windows, according to Fbio Cardoso, an inspector with the civil police force, which investigates crimes. The driver has said he never saw the checkpoint or a request to stop.

I want to be clear that a car not following a police order does not justify shooting, Cardoso told reporters at a news conference on Tuesday.

He said that Lt Davi dos Santos Ribeiro fired the fatal shot and was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter. He said another officer, who has not been named, shot into the air and was also arrested. Six firearms have been seized.

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A bullet hole scars the back window of the car in which a Spanish tourist was shot dead by military police. Photograph: Silvia Izquierdo/AP

The death is sure to increase scrutiny of both military police officers, who are accused by many critics of shooting first and asking questions later, and of tour companies that take curious foreigners to areas with frequent conflicts.

Jimnez Ruiz, who is from El Puerto de Santa Mara, was with her brother and sister-in-law and a guide as they left the Rocinha slum after a tour, Cardoso said. After the shots were fired, the car continued for about 30 meters (32.8 yards) before stopping at another police checkpoint, at which point the passengers realised Jimnez Ruiz had been hit.

Rocinha has been the scene of intense firefights between police and drug traffickers. The army has even occasionally been called in to support police operations.

Authorities say they are investigating why a tour company would bring tourists to what they have labelled a conflict area and will consider pressing criminal charges.

Valria Arago, an inspector with the tourism police, has said that the tourists may have thought the heavy police presence in Rocinha meant it was safe, when it actually signals just the opposite.

For years, tourist visits to slums, or favelas, were common. Many of the areas are culturally and architecturally rich, and include top samba schools, musicians and artists. However, amid Brazils economic crisis in recent years and an uptick in violence, visits to favelas have become much less frequent.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

Marissa SafontTwo Brazil military police officers held over shooting death of Spanish tourist

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