San Francisco may let police robots use lethal force

By Eric Ting, SF Gate

A new draft policy would, for the first time, allow the San Francisco Police Department’s robots to use lethal force against suspects as a last-resort option.

Mission Local first reported that the Law Enforcement Use of Equipment Policy, which is scheduled to be voted on by the full San Francisco Board of Supervisors next week, was originally silent on whether the department’s 17 remote-controlled robots could use lethal force. Supervisor Aaron Peskin then added a line reading, “Robots shall not be used as a Use of Force against any person,” but an SFPD revision changed that language to “Robots will only be used as a deadly force option when risk of loss of life to members of the public or officers are imminent and outweigh any other force option available to SFPD.”

Peskin ultimately voted to advance the draft policy to the full board, telling Mission Local that the police argued “there could be scenarios where deployment of lethal force was the only option.” SFPD did not immediately respond to an SFGATE request for comment.


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