Police Say They’ve Cracked Rio de Janeiro’s Most Notorious Murder Mystery

“Who killed Marielle Franco?” That has been the question haunting Rio de Janeiro for the past six years, ever since a gunman assassinated the Black, gay, feminist councilwoman who had fought the city’s entrenched corruption and powerful gangs.

But now her family and the thousands of supporters who have taken to the streets in Ms. Franco’s name appear to have an answer.

Brazilian police officers on Sunday morning arrested Chiquinho and Domingos Brazão — two brothers who once served on Rio’s City Council, as did Ms. Franco — on accusations that they ordered her 2018 murder to silence her battles against corruption, according to a police official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the operation had not been officially announced.

The police also arrested Rivaldo Barbosa, the former Rio police chief who initially oversaw the investigation into Ms. Franco’s killing, on accusations that he intentionally obstructed it, the official said.

Court documents with the recommended charges against the men remained sealed on Sunday.

Ubiratan Guedes, the lawyer representing Domingos Brazão, denied the accusations against his client. “He did not know Marielle, had no connection with Marielle,” he told reporters on Sunday.

Lawyers for Mr. Barbosa said they needed more time to review the accusations. Lawyers for Chiquinho Brazão, who served on Rio’s council at the same time as Ms. Franco and is now a federal congressman, did not comment.

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