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San Francisco's "killer robots" plan sparks protest

STORYLINE: ASSOCIATED PRESSSan Francisco - 5 December 20221. Various of news conference/demonstration against police robots in front of City HallHEADLINE: San Francisco's "killer robots" plan sparks protestANNOTATION: The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 8-3 last week to allow city police to use lethal, remote-controlled robots in emergency situations.2. SOUNDBITE (English) Dean Preston, San Francisco supervisor:"And it's coming back for a second reading the final reading tomorrow. And we wanted to send a clear message that people are opposed to this. I voted against it. And most people in San Francisco are strongly opposed to having robots that kill."3. Protester holding sign4. Preston speaking at news conference5. News conference/demonstration against police robots in front of City Hall6. SOUNDBITE (English) Dean Preston, San Francisco supervisor:++PARTIALLY COVERED++"This is military weaponry that has no place in the San Francisco Police Department. And it's really a reckless proposal to allow police to use a robot to basically deliver deadly force through an explosive device. It makes us all less safe."6. Protesters with signs rally in front of City HallANNOTATION: San Francisco police say the robots could save lives. Deploying them would require authorization from a limited number of high-ranking officers.7. SOUNDBITE (English) Yoel Haile, American Civil Liberties Union, Criminal Justice Program Director:++PARTIALLY COVERED++"Any tool that the police have that they say they're only going to use for like rare and extraordinary circumstances eventually has always ended up becoming a mainstream tool that they use with very much regularly. And the most important problem is that just like every other tool that they've ever used, these tools and these weapons of war are primarily used against black and brown people."8. Protesters holding signsSTORYLINE:Politicians, advocates and protesters on Monday called on San Francisco's Board of Supervisors to reject a city proposal to give city police the ability to use potentially lethal, remote-controlled robots in emergency situations.They held a news conference and demonstration in front of San Francisco City Hall to voice their opposition to the police use of "killer robots.""This is military weaponry that has no place in the San Francisco Police Department," said Supervisor Dean Preston, who spoke at Tuesday's news conference. "It's really a reckless proposal to allow police to use a robot to basically deliver deadly force through an explosive device. It makes us all less safe."The Board of Supervisors voted 8-3 last week to grant police the option despite strong objections from civil liberties and other police oversight groups. Opponents said the authority would lead to the further militarization of a police force already too aggressive with poor and minority communities.The proposals comes back before the board for a second reading Tuesday, and opponents are hoping some of the supervisors who supported it last week will change their minds.The San Francisco Police Department said it does not have pre-armed robots and has no plans to arm robots with guns. But the department could deploy robots equipped with explosive charges "to contact, incapacitate, or disorient violent, armed, or dangerous suspect" when lives are at stake, SFPD spokesperson Allison Maxie said in a statement.Supervisors amended the proposal Tuesday to specify that officers could use robots only after using alternative force or de-escalation tactics, or concluding they would not be able to subdue the suspect through those alternative means. Only a limited number of high-ranking officers could authorize use of robots as a deadly force option.San Francisco police currently have a dozen functioning ground robots used to assess bombs or provide eyes in low visibility situations, the department says. They were acquired between 2010 and 2017, and not once have they been used to deliver an explosive device, police officials said.But explicit authorization was required after a new California law went into effect this year requiring police and sheriffs departments to inventory military-grade equipment and seek approval for their use.Like many places around the U.S., San Francisco is trying to balance public safety with treasured civilian rights such as privacy and the ability to live free of excessive police oversight. In September, supervisors agreed to a trial run allowing police to access in real time private surveillance camera feeds in certain circumstances.The first time a robot was used to deliver explosives in the U.S. was in 2016, when Dallas police sent in an armed robot that killed a holed-up sniper who had killed five officers in an ambush.===========================================================Clients are reminded: (i) to check the terms of their licence agreements for use of content outside news programming and that further advice and assistance can be obtained from the AP Archive on: Tel +44 (0) 20 7482 7482 Email: info@aparchive.com(ii) they should check with the applicable collecting society in their Territory regarding the clearance of any sound recording or performance included within the AP Television News service (iii) they have editorial responsibility for the use of all and any content included within the AP Television News service and for libel, privacy, compliance and third party rights applicable to their Territory.
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