SF police ‘killer robots’ motion passes

Posted 61 days ago

From WWW.KRON4.COM

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Police in San Francisco will have the ability to deploy potentially lethal, remote-controlled robots in emergency situations after supervisors of the politically Democratic city granted permission Tuesday in a board vote.

City Supervisor Rafael Mandelman said SFPD will have access to seven robots “designed to neutralize dispose of bombs, and provide video reconnaissance for operators.” None of the robots will have firearms attached, but Mandelman said they could be asked to carry out deadly force in extreme situations.

“Under this policy, SFPD is authorized to use these robots to carry out deadly force in extremely limited situations when risk to loss of life to members of the public or officers is imminent and outweighs any other force option available,” he wrote on Twitter.

Mandelman said he supports the policy, saying there are “reasonable restrictions” on the use of the robots. However, others don’t agree. Supervisor Hillary Ronen said she, Shamann Walton and Dean Preston all voted against arming the robots.

“Beyond disappointed that the Board seems poised to allow SFPD to use weaponized robots to use force against human beings. Only 4 of us clearly against. Shortsighted, dangerous, sad. The spirit of the SF I have always admired is weeping today,” she said.

Police oversight groups urged the 11-member San Francisco Board of Supervisors to reject the idea, saying it would lead to further militarization of a police force already too aggressive with poor and minority communities. They said the parameters under which use would be allowed are too vague.

The San Francisco Police Department said it does not have pre-armed robots and has no plans to arm robots with guns. But the department could deploy robots equipped with explosive charges “to contact, incapacitate, or disorient violent, armed, or dangerous suspect” when lives are at stake, SFPD spokesperson Allison Maxie said in a prepared statement.

“Robots equipped in this manner would only be used in extreme circumstances to save or prevent further loss of innocent lives,” she said.

The proposed policy does not lay out specifics for how the weapons can and cannot be equipped, leaving open the option to arm them. “Robots will only be used as a deadly force option when risk of loss of life to members of the public or officers is imminent and outweighs any other force option available to SFPD,” it says.... (Read more)



Tweets mentioned:

https://twitter.com/RafaelMandelman/status/1597777397331681280

https://twitter.com/HillaryRonen/status/1597760412757262336