(RightIsRight.co) – The legislature of the city of San Francisco has voted for the first time to officially authorize the police to use human-controlled robots to kill or incapacitate people in certain situations.
The 11-member San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 8-3 to allow the police deployment of the so-called “killer robots” after a heated two-hour discussion on Tuesday, The National Review reported.
All members of the San Francisco city legislature are Democrats, but those opposed argued the decision resembled a science fiction film and created threats to people of color and the poor.
The decision still does not authorize the local police to equip the human-controlled robots with firearms, but it does allow arming them with deadly explosives.
“Robots will only be used as a deadly force option when the risk of loss of life to members of the public or officers are imminent and outweigh any other force option available to [the San Francisco Police Department,” reads the SFBS decision.
It stipulates further that killer robots could be used only after other de-escalation methods had been attempted, and only a restricted number of senior police officers could approve of using the machines as a lethal force.
The San Francisco legislature’s vote came after a new California law – California Assembly Bill 481 – decreed local governing bodies should issue directions to law enforcement agencies on using military-style equipment and weaponry, such as robots.
The San Francisco PD has a dozen “killer robots,” which have so far been used for the assessment of bombs, low-visibility circumstances, and hazmat situations. The department has had robots capable of delivering deadly force since 2012.
The city legislature’s ordinance now allows the police to arm the robots with explosives “to contact, incapacitate, or disorient violent, armed, or dangerous suspects.”
One of the vocal supporters of the robot policy, Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, criticized “progressives” for portraying the police as untrustworthy.
“To say this is some rogue organization terrorizing the neighborhoods of San Francisco that cannot be trusted with technology they’ve had for more than a decade is beyond preposterous to me,” Mandelman told The San Francisco Examiner.
Board President Shamann Walton was among the three who voted against the killer robots, saying he was “pro-people of color,” not “anti-police.”
“We continuously are being asked to do things in the name of increasing weaponry and opportunities for negative interaction between the police department and people of color. This is just one of those things,” Walton told The San Francisco Chronicle.
“Beyond disappointed that the Board seems poised to allow SFPD to use weaponized robots to use force against human beings… Shortsighted, dangerous, sad. The spirit of the SF I have always admired is weeping today,” Supervisor Hillary Ronen tweeted ahead of the vote.
“Allowing SFPD to use robots to inflict deadly force is a terrible idea, something one would expect to find in a sci-fi film, not before a legislative body in San Francisco,” wrote Supervisor Dean Preston.
US police used a killer robot in Dallas for the first time in 2016 to take out a sniper who had murdered five police officers.
— New York Post (@nypost) November 30, 2022