A policy proposal that is heading for Board of Supervisors approval next week would explicitly authorize San Francisco police to kill suspects using robots.
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 has faced 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.”
The following week, the police struck out his suggestion with a thick red line.
It was replaced by language that codifies the department’s authority to use lethal force via robots: “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.”