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San Francisco bans police robot plans after protests

A demonstrator holds up a sign protesting the use of police explosive robots Associated Press/Photo by Jeff Chiu

San Francisco bans police robot plans after protests

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday night reversed course, banning the police force from using deadly force by remote-controlled robots in emergency situations. The same board last week had voted 8-3 to give preliminary approval for the use of robots. A new California law required law enforcement departments to list and inventory military-grade equipment, such as assault rifles and armored vehicles, and to seek approval for their use. Residents and several board members protested the decision Monday, and board members like Gordon Mar changed their positions after initially supporting the measure.

What situations would have warranted the use of these robots? San Francisco Police Department spokeswoman Allison Maxie had earlier said the department could deploy robots equipped with explosive charges when lives are at stake. The proposal would have limited their use only after the use of alternative force or if de-escalation tactics have not been effective in subduing dangerous suspects.

Dig deeper: Read Addie Offereins’ report in Compassion about cities seeking better mental health care and better policing.

Lauren Canterberry

Lauren Canterberry is a reporter for WORLD. She graduated from the World Journalism Institute and the University of Georgia with a degree in journalism, both in 2017. She worked as a local reporter in Texas and now lives in Georgia with her husband.


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