Two ex-cops charged with killing Brazilian politician

Ex-police officers arrested in killing of Rio de Janeiro council member Marielle Franco

Police on Tuesday arrested two suspects in the killing of Rio de Janeiro councilwoman Marielle Franco and her driver, a brazen assassination that shocked and angered Brazilians and sparked protests in several countries.

"Two police officers were arrested with a direct and effective participation in the crime", said Marcus Vinicius Braga, Rio de Janeiro state police secretary. Franco was a left-leaning Rio city councillor who grew up in a slum and went on to become a respected defender of blacks, the poor and the LGTB community. Freixo said. "We don't accept the version that these people were motivated by passion and hate when they didn't even really know who Marielle was".

And police said it was a mere coincidence that the second suspect, retired military police officer Ronnie Lessa, shared a residence with Bolsonaro. "We are calling for the Brazilian authorities to ensure that investigations are independent and impartial, and to bring all those responsible, including those who ordered the crime, to justice in fair trials". He did not say which son dated the woman, nor when.

The press team in the president's office did not immediately respond to requests for comment on details about that relationship.

Local news outlets reported the photo was taken from Queiroz's Facebook profile.

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Bolsonaro told reporters on Tuesday that he had taken photos with thousands of police officers in the past year as he pursued and won the presidency. Franco and Gomes were returning from a meeting Franco had attended on empowering black women when their auto was attacked.

While Witzel praised police and investigators for the arrests, the case highlighted deep corruption in Brazil's police forces, including connections to militias and paramilitary groups that control large swaths of the state.

Investigators opted to zero in on Mr. Lessa after lifting his digital records and noting that he monitored Marielle Franco's day-to-day schedule, leading the police to believe that he had been tracking her movements. Marielle's killing was a blatant attempt to silence a courageous human rights defender, who had devoted her life to advocating for women, LGBTI people and black youth in Rio favelas. Her press secretary, Fernanda Chaves, who was traveling in the same vehicle, suffered minor injuries.

"It is incontestable that Marielle Franco was summarily executed for her political activity in the defence of the causes she defended", prosecutors said in a statement cited by the Guardian.

It remained to be seen if there are any repercussions for the president, who is in the midst of negotiating with Congress on pension reform.

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