Two ex-cops ar­rested in as­sas­si­na­tion

The Buffalo News - - WORLD NEWS -

SAO PAULO, Brazil – Brazil­ian au­thor­i­ties on Tues­day ar­rested two for­mer po­lice of­fi­cers for the mur­der of an out­spo­ken Rio de Janeiro coun­cil­woman, a year af­ter her as­sas­si­na­tion con­vulsed Latin Amer­ica’s largest na­tion.

Marielle Franco was an fierce critic of po­lice-run mili­tias and po­lice bru­tal­ity and rep­re­sented a poor neigh­bor­hood in Rio as the only black woman on the city’s 51-mem­ber govern­ing coun­cil.

“Two po­lice of­fi­cers were ar­rested for di­rect and ef­fec­tive par­tic­i­pa­tion in the crime,” said Mar­cus Viní­cius Braga, Rio de Janeiro state po­lice sec­re­tary. “With these ar­rests, we get close to solv­ing the crime.”

Franco’s mur­der sparked world­wide protests and she be­came a global sym­bol of po­lice op­pres­sion.

She was driv­ing home on the night of March 14, 2018, af­ter speak­ing to a group of women about black em­pow­er­ment when she was struck by nine po­lice-is­sue bul­lets. Her driver, An­der­son Gomes, was also killed.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors now be­lieve that Ron­nie Lessa, a re­tired mil­i­tary po­lice of­fi­cer fired the shots. Él­cio Vieira de Queiroz, a for­mer po­lice of­fi­cer who was ex­pelled from the force, is sus­pected of hav­ing driven the car.

Both men were ar­rested early Tues­day morn­ing in Rio.

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