More than a decade after Latin America's most recent turn to democracy, unchecked police violence and torture continue and in some cases have increased. This study examines police killings in 19 Brazilian states from 1994 to 2001 and finds that democracy has not substantially reduced these types of human rights violations, for two reasons. First, underlying social conflict has continued to exert a significant impact on the lethal use of force by police officers. Second, pro-order political coalitions, generally represented by right-wing politicians, have blocked effective measures to control police violence and have implemented public safety measures that stress the use of force. The analysis emphasizes the nonteleological nature of democratization processes and demonstrates the strength of political forces working to maintain "illiberal democracy."


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pp. 141-164
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Archive Status
Archived 2007
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