San Francisco approves police request to deploy lethal robots

Police with bomb squad robot in San Francisco
(Image credit: Michael Macor/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 8-3 Tuesday to approve a modified request from the San Francisco Police Department to allow the use of remote-controlled robots armed with potentially lethal explosives in certain circumstances. Approval of the controversial proposal followed two hours of emotionally charged debate, The Associated Press reports, with each side accusing the other of excessive fear-mongering.

The San Francisco PD had proposed using robots "as a deadly force option" only "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 proposal was prompted by a new California law that requires police and sheriff departments to list their military-grade equipment and how it can be used, with city governments given final approval of those rules.

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