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San Francisco votes to let cops deploy robots that kill


SAN FRANCISCO: Supervisors in San Francisco voted on Tuesday to give the city’s police the ability to use potentially lethal, remote-controlled robots in emergency situations – following an emergency The emotional debate reflects divisions within the political libertarian council over support for law enforcement.
The vote was 8-3, with a majority agreeing to allow the police to choose despite strong opposition from civil liberties and other police watchdog groups. Opponents say the government will lead to further militarization of the police force, which is already too aggressive towards poor and minority communities. Supervisor Connie Chan said she understands the concerns about the use of force but “we are required by state law to approve the use of these devices.”
The San Francisco police The ministry said it does not have pre-armed robots and has no plans to arm the robots with guns. SFPD spokeswoman Allison Maxie said in a statement that the Department may deploy explosives-equipped robots “to communicate with, disable, or disorientate violent, armed suspects.” or dangerous” when life is threatened.
“Robots equipped in this way will only be used under extreme circumstances to save or prevent further damage to innocent lives,” she said.
The supervisors revised the proposal on Tuesday to specify that officers can only use the robot after using alternative force or de-escalation tactics, or concluding that they will be invincible. suspects through such alternative means. Only a limited number of senior officers can authorize the use of robots as a deadly force option.
San Francisco police currently have dozens of active ground robots that are used to assess bombs or provide eyes in low-visibility situations, the department said. But explicit permission is needed after a new California law that goes into effect this year requires police and police departments to take inventory of military-grade equipment and obtain permission to use them.
San Francisco police said Tuesday that none of the robots were taken from military surplus, but some were purchased with federal funds. Tuesday’s debate dragged on for more than two hours with members on both sides accusing the other of recklessly spreading fear.
Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, who voted in favor of delegating the policy, said he was troubled by claims that the police department was unreliable and dangerous. “I think there are bigger questions to be asked when progressives and progressive policies start to treat the public as if they were anti-police,” he said. “I think it’s bad for progressives. I think it’s bad for this Board of Supervisors. I think it’s bad for Democrats across the country.”
Board Chairman Shamann Walton, who voted against the proposal, declined, saying it made him not anti-police, but “pro-people of color.” “We are constantly being asked to do things in the name of increasing firearms and creating opportunities for negative interactions between the police department and people of color,” he said. “This is just one of those things.”
The San Francisco Office of Public Protection sent a letter Monday to the board saying granting police “the ability to kill community members remotely” goes against the city’s progressive values. city. AP

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