Rio de Janeiro – Brazilian prosecutors are seeking arrest warrants for 28 police officers in connection with the murder of a judge, Rio de Janeiro state Attorney General Claudio Lopes said.
The charges represent "a response from society" to the Aug. 12 assassination of Judge Patricia Lourival Acioli outside her home in suburban Rio, Lopes told a press conference.
Acioli, a 47-year-old mother of three, was shot 21 times as she sat in her vehicle waiting for the garage door to open.
Investigators determined that government-issue weapons were used in the attack.
The judge, who presided over a criminal court in the municipality of Sao Gonzalo, handled murder cases and was known for her tough stance toward members of "extermination groups" that kill petty criminals, beggars and homeless people in Greater Rio de Janeiro.
The death squads are led by corrupt police officers, often acting in league with organized-crime elements. Among the people Acioli convicted of vigilante murders were militiamen and criminals engaged in fuel and transportation rackets.
Prosecutors requested that 34 members of the Rio state police unit assigned to Sao Gonzalo be suspended from duty on suspicion of involvement in the murder or subsequent attempts to sabotage the investigation.
While suspension is viewed as sufficient in the case of six of those officers, prosecutors are reserving the option to order the other 28 jailed pending possible indictments.
The probe is ongoing and more cops might be implicated, the state AG's office said.