Black Lives Matter Activists in Rio to Highlight Racism | NBC4 Washington
2016 Rio Olympic Games

2016 Rio Olympic Games

Watch All the Action from the Rio Games Live on NBC

Black Lives Matter Activists in Rio to Highlight Racism

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    An activist walks past police cars during a demonstration against racism and police violence in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 20, 2016. A delegation of activists from the Black Lives Matter movement is in Rio de Janeiro to highlight racism and police violence in the Olympic city ahead of the summer games. Both the Brazilian and U.S. groups complained of racial profiling, police killings and the criminalization of poor communities.

    The Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games could prove deadly for the city's poor black people, a delegation of U.S. activists from the Black Lives Matter movement and local activist groups warned Wednesday. 

    The American activists were on a four-day visit to Rio aimed at highlighting the risks posed by the giant Olympic security apparatus in a country where a United Nations report has concluded law enforcement officers are responsible for a "significant portion" of the nearly 60,000 annual violent deaths. 

    During the Aug. 5-21 games, some 85,000 soldiers and police will be on patrol in a bid to secure this notoriously dangerous city for the 10,000 athletes and the 350,000 to 500,000 foreigner spectators expected to flood in for the games. That's roughly twice the security contingent at the 2012 Summer Games in London. 

    But while the mammoth security apparatus may help insulate foreign visitors from the armed muggings, carjackings and drug gang shootouts that are a regular part of life in Rio, the U.S. activists and their local counterparts warned that the increased police presence could result in a spike in police killings. 

    Visitors to Wildlife Preserve Catch Glimpse of Massive Gator

    [NATL] Visitors to Wildlife Preserve Catch Glimpse of Massive Gator
    A massive alligator was recorded on video Sunday at a wildlife preserve in Polk County, Florida. Almost prehistoric in appearance, the gator is known well by people who frequent the preserve, but the social media explosion brought out plenty of new viewers on Monday. "It's awesome," exclaimed Jackson McMillan. That is until he was asked if he wanted to get any closer, to which he replied, "I'm fine." (Published 4 hours ago)

    "We are learning about Olympic construction costs, and dirty water and Zika and crime, but I want the world to know about the horror that is the police killing citizens as part of Olympic preparations," said Elizabeth Martin, a Massachusetts woman whose nephew Joseph was shot to death in 2007 by an off-duty police officer while celebrating his 30th birthday in Rio. 

    Brazil Police Watch, the group Martin founded following Joseph's death, organized the trip. 

    The six American activists began their visit to Rio with an emotionally charged meeting with families of local victims of police violence, community leaders and anti-racism activists. Speaking through interpreters, the two groups shared their personal stories and discussed similarities between the black experience in Brazil and in the U.S., with both groups complaining of racial profiling, police killings and the criminalization of poor communities. 

    "It's important that we stand with each other because we know this violence is connected," said Daunasia Yancey, a Black Lives Matter activist from Boston. "Anti-black violence is global and our resistance is global." 

    Crowd Sings 'We Shall Overcome' at MLK Memorial

    [NATL-DC] Crowd Sings 'We Shall Overcome' at MLK Memorial
    Thousands of people across the country paid homage Monday to Martin Luther King Jr. At a wreath-laying ceremony at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, the crowd sang "We Shall Overcome" after walking the wreath to an area in front of the statue. (Published Monday, Jan. 16, 2017)

    She said that in both the United States and Brazil, police killings of black youths are systemic problems. It's "not just a case of one bad cop. This is a system of policing, this is the way policing works," she said. 

    Monica Cunha, a Rio resident whose son Rafael was killed by police in 2006, agreed. 

    In Brazil, Cunha said, "to be black today is to be marked" for death, often at the hands of law enforcement officers. 

    While the exact extent of police killings in Brazil remains murky, human rights campaigners and international organizations alike have long accused the South American nation's police of routinely carrying out summary executions — often officially explained away as suspects "killed while resisting arrest." 

    Thieves Steal Oversized Teddy Bears From Flower Shop

    [NATL] Thieves Steal Oversized Teddy Bears From Flower Shop
    Police in Marietta, Oklahoma are looking for two thieves who carried out an unusual heist. The pair stole nine life-sized stuffed animals after smashing into a flower shop. Surveillance video shows a suspect in a black hoodie hammering out windows and stealing several large stuffed animals. (Published Friday, Jan. 13, 2017)

    Amnesty International's Rio chapter estimates police were responsible for one out of every five slayings in the state in 2015. The human rights watchdog also says police killings rose in Rio state around 40 percent during the 2014 World Cup soccer tournament. 

    The Black Lives Matter activists said that more than 600 people were slain by police in the U.S. so far this year. 

    During the meeting, controversial police killings in both the U.S. and Brazil peppered the conversation: Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Philando Castile in Minnesota; Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; the 1993 massacre of eight street children outside Rio's Candelaria church; the December killing of five youths in a Rio suburb when police opened fire on their car. 

    John Selders, a pastor from Hartford, Connecticut, said the commonalities between the plight of black people in Brazil and the U.S. create a bond that transcends language and cultural barriers. 

    Dashcam Video Catches Man Shooting at Deputy

    [NATL] Dashcam Video Catches Man Shooting at Deputy
    Dashcam video released Thursday shows a gunfight between a 28-year-old Lagrange, Georgia, man and a Troup County deputy. Deputy Michael Hockett arrived at Matthew Edmondson's home on a wellness check at the request of his father, who was concerned about his well-being. When the deputy arrived, he scaled a fence to go around the house. Edmondson later opened the gate and pulled into the yard before getting out of the truck, and firing a large caliber handgun at the patrol car. Edmondson faces multiple charges, including attempted murder, aggravated assault on a peace officer with a deadly weapon, and others. (Published Friday, Jan. 13, 2017)

    "You are not alone here in Brazil," Selders said, as an interpreter echoed his words in Portuguese. "We are you. You are us. We are one people."