In Latin America, Awash in Crime, Citizens Impose Their Own Brutal Justice

BRASÍLIA—For Victor Melo, the end began with a stolen iPhone.

The 16-year-old had spent a balmy Saturday afternoon in May with his high school friends at a funk music party in Brasília’s central park, not far from the country’s presidential palace.

As he headed home shortly after sundown, someone in the crowd grabbed his classmate Ágatha…

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