The advancement of technology can often lead people to want to enforce some questionable policies.
The Controversial Policy
According to CNN, a board of supervisors in San Francisco, CA, voted 8-3 on Tuesday (Nov. 29) night to enforce a policy that would allow police officers to use robots capable of enacting lethal force during “extraordinary circumstances.”
Following the debate, a heated argument ensued because per the new rule, officials would be able to call on ground-based robots to kill “when risk of loss of life to members of the public or officers is imminent and officers cannot subdue the threat after using alternative force options or de-escalation tactics.”
America's HistoryOf Police Brutality
This may not sound like that big of a deal to some, but given the violent history between the police and the Black community, one can only imagine the horror stories that could follow a policy like this.
At this time, the new law still requires a second vote within the next week and ultimately the mayor’s approval.
“There could be an extraordinary circumstance where, in a virtually unimaginable emergency, they might want to deploy lethal force to render, in some horrific situation, somebody from being able to cause further harm,” said one supervisor, Aaron Peskin, during the board meeting.
The Potential For Danger
The three supervisors who voted against the policy include Dean Preston, Hillary Ronen and Shamann Walton.
“There is serious potential for misuse and abuse of this military-grade technology, and zero showing of necessity,” said Preston in response to the suggested new law.
A spokesperson for the San Francisco Police Department did note that while they do have access to a fleet of robots, there is no plan to equip them with firearms.
Instead, he said that explosive charges would potentially be added to the robots in order to break into fortified structures. In addition to that, the robots may be used to “contact, incapacitate, or disorient” a dangerous suspect in order to avoid putting the life of an officer at risk.
A Risk For Repeating History
As bizarre as the new initiative seems, it is not the first time that something of this nature has been implemented.
In 2016, Dallas police detonated an explosive device placed on a bomb squad robot sent into an area where a suspect had taken shelter.
Ultimately, the armed suspect, accused of fatally shooting five officers, was killed due to the robot.