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San Francisco Will Allow Police to Deploy Robots That Kill

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San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott answers questions during a news conference.

The San Francisco Police Department said it does not now have pre-armed robots, and has no plans to arm robots with guns.

Credit: Eric Risberg/AP

San Francisco's Board of Supervisors voted to grant city police the option to deploy potentially lethal robots in emergency situations, despite objections from civil liberties and other police oversight groups.

Although the San Francisco Police Department's Allison Maxie said the department currently has no armed robots, and has no plans to equip robots with guns, it could deploy robots outfitted with explosive charges "to contact, incapacitate, or disorient violent, armed, or dangerous suspects" in life-threatening scenarios.

City supervisors revised the proposal so officers could use robots only after alternative force or de-escalation tactics were tried or deemed ineffective.

Critics said the authorization would further militarize a police force that already displays excessive aggression toward poor and minority communities.

From Associated Press
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