San Francisco supervisors vote to allow police to use robots to kill

San Francisco supervisors vote to allow police to use robots to kill


The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 8-3 Tuesday night to approve a controversial order Policies That would allow police to deploy robots capable of using lethal force in exceptional circumstances, according to multiple reports.

Washington Post reports The vote followed heated debate over a policy that would allow officers to use ground robots to kill “when the risk of loss of life to members of the public or officers is imminent and officers cannot subdue the threat after the use of alternative force options or de-escalation tactics.”

The paper says the measure still requires a second vote next week and approval from the mayor.

“There could be an extraordinary circumstance where, in an emergency situation almost unimaginable, they might want to deploy deadly force to make someone, in some horrific situation, capable of causing further harm,” said Superintendent Aaron Peskin at the board meeting. . to me San Francisco Chronicle.

The Chronicle reported that moderators Dean Preston, Hillary Ronen and Shaman Walton voted against the policy.

“There is a serious potential for misuse and abuse of this military technology, of not showing necessity,” Preston said at the meeting.

In the end, the council adopted an amendment that would require one of two high-ranking San Francisco police chiefs to authorize any use of lethal force by the robot, according to the Chronicle.

CNN has reached out to the Board of Supervisors for a copy Meeting Minutes.

Police spokesman Robert Roica told the newspaper that the department has a fleet of robots and does not plan to equip them with firearms. But he said explosive charges could be added to the robots to breach fortified structures, or the robots could be deployed to “contact, impede or confuse” a dangerous suspect without risking the officer’s life.

In an interview Wednesday with CNN, San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott emphasized that the robots’ lethal function would only be used in extreme circumstances.

“These robots will be a last resort,” he said. “If we ever had to exercise that option, it would mean either that lives, or innocent lives, have already been lost, or in the balance, and that would be the only option to neutralize that person and endanger those lives, or the person who took those lives.” .

Scott said the robots are operated remotely by specially trained officers. “Our officers who are trained to operate these robots are well trained and very skilled at what they do,” he explained. He added that the robots are “neither autonomous” nor “pre-programmed”.

According to Scott, an ordinance passed by the Board of Supervisors states that only officers with the rank of deputy, assistant chief, or chief of police can authorize lethal force to be used by robots.

“I just want to reiterate and reiterate that the equipment is already in our possession,” he said of the robots. “We’ve never had to use it that way, and I hope we never have to use it that way. But we need the option to be able to save lives should we have this kind of tragedy in our city.”

Scott said the technology could be especially useful for apprehending mass shooting suspects without endangering the officers’ lives.

“These events, mass killings, are all very common,” he said. “And God forbid that one happen here, we just need to give our officers the tools to do their jobs.”

Scott pointed to a state law passed in 2021 that requires police departments to seek approval from the government agencies they oversee before collecting donations for, obtaining, or using military equipment.

“What we do and what we’re trying to do under the law is transparency about how this equipment is used,” he said. “We don’t want it to be a secret to anyone. We have nothing to hide.”

It was widespread mentioned The first known example of US law enforcement using a bot to deploy lethal force was in 2016, when Dallas police killed an accused armed suspect. Five police officers were killed By detonating an explosive device placed on a bomb squad robot that was sent to the place where the suspect had taken refuge.

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