According to RT.com, which cited local reports, the San Francisco Police Department is asking the city council to approve its request to make some models of robots used by officers capable of inflicting deadly force.
"While the SFPD’s robots are primarily designed for bomb disposal and surveillance, police say they can be used as a last-resort 'deadly force option,'" the outlet reported.
"In a document setting out how the SFPD plans to use all of its military-style equipment, the department wrote that '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,'" RT.com noted further.
The new policy, which defines how the SFPD is allowed to use its military-style weapons, was put together by the police department. Over the past several weeks, it has been scrutinized by supervisors Aaron Peskin, Rafael Mandelman and Connie Chan, who together comprise the Board of Supervisors Rules Committee.
The draft policy faces criticism from advocates for its language on robot force, as well as for excluding hundreds of assault rifles from its inventory of military-style weapons and for not including personnel costs in the price of its weapons.
Peskin, chair of the committee, initially attempted to limit the SFPD’s authority over the department’s robots by inserting the sentence, “Robots shall not be used as a Use of Force against any person.”
However, the following week, the SFPD struck that line from the proposal, making it clear the department wants robots capable of lethality.
“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," the corrected passage reads.
In fact, a robot has already been used to kill a suspect.
In 2016, the Dallas Police Department strapped plastic explosives to a bomb disposal robot and sent it into an area where a sniper with previous military experience who had killed five officers was holed up and detonated them, killing him where he stood.
Currently, the SFPD has the same robot, a Remotec F5A, in its inventory of 17 total robots.
“The original policy they submitted was actually silent on whether robots could deploy lethal force,” said Peskin, according to Mission Local. He went on to say that he approved the SFPD's revision because department officials made a good case that "there could be scenarios where deployment of lethal force was the only option" -- as in the case of the Dallas sniper or perhaps a terrorist.
Meanwhile, last year, a survey found that nearly half of San Fran residents wanted to leave the city due to rampant rising crime.
"Homeless encampments and human feces on the streets are quickly replacing the Golden Gate Bridge and cable cars as the dominant images that people associate with the city," Natural News reported then.
Following the horrific, extended lockdowns throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, "crime and homelessness now rank among the highest levels of concerns among local residents, many who are contemplating relocating, according to a new poll," CBS News reported in July 2021, adding that a survey found 40 percent of residents wanted to leave the city and planned on doing so over the next few years.
"There's nothing worse than seeing such a beautiful place in such disarray, and I really thought I was going to be sad when the movers loaded up the last container on Saturday, and I have never been more relieved," former resident Lindsey Stevens told the network after she moved to Palm Springs, following a 12-year stint in San Fran.