Brazil Organized Crime Writing

Life Imitates Art: ‘City of God’ Actor Accused of Killing Rio Cop

Fifteen years after the release of one of Brazil’s most famous movies, a man who played a drug trafficker in the film has been accused of becoming a real-life gang boss, illustrating how closely the critically-acclaimed chronicle of organized crime in Rio de Janeiro parallels the reality still playing out in the city today.

As a teenager, Ivan da Silva Martins made his film debut as a drug trafficker in “City of God” (Cidade de Deus), the 2002 film by Brazilian directors Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund that won international acclaim for its portrayal of life in Rio’s marginalized neighborhoods known as favelas, which are often wracked by poverty and criminal violence. 

Now, the former actor known by the aliases “Ivanzinho” (roughly translated as Little Ivan) and “Ivan the Terrible,” is back in the international spotlight after being accused of involvement in the death last month of a police officer in Rio’s Vidigal favela.

Sergeant Hudson Silva de Araújo, who died as the result of a shootout, was the first police officer killed in Vidigal since a Police Pacification Unit (Unidade de Polícia Pacificadora – UPP) was established there in January 2012. Silva de Araújo was the 91st police officer killed in Rio de Janeiro this year.

Read the rest of this news brief at InSight Crime.

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