killer robot crime police san francisco dallas
© MediaNews Group/Getty
The San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) can now use robots to kill suspects in 'rare' circumstances. They currently have 12 robots in their artillery including bomb detecting robots like this one from Long Beach California
Police in San Francisco can now use potentially lethal, remote-controlled robots to incapacitate suspects in emergency situations.

The robots have previously been used to carry explosives to blow up suspects - as was done in Dallas in 2016.

This comes after Mayor London Breed's U-turn almost a year ago when she backtracked on her 'defund the police' strategy in favor of 'more aggressive policing' to replace what she called 'bulls**t progressive policies'.

She had previously sliced $120million from the budget of its police department in light of Black Lives Matter protests in 2020 in favor of diverting money to local initiatives and charities.

London Breed mayor San francisco killer robots
© Anadolu Agency/Getty
The decision follows on from Mayor London Breed's U-turn almost a year ago when she backtracked on her 'defund the police' strategy. She is pictured in November
San Francisco's Board of Supervisors approved the decision in a meeting on Tuesday, voting 8-3 in favor of allowing police to deploy the potentially deadly machines.

Discussion around the decision has been emotionally charged with critics saying the authority would just lead to the further militarization of a police force already too aggressive with poor and minority communities.

Supervisor Connie Chan, a member of the committee that forwarded the proposal to the board allowing police use of robots, said she understood concerns over use of force but that California state law required them to approve the use of military-grade equipment.

'It's definitely not an easy discussion,' Ms Chan said.

The San Francisco Police Department stressed that it does not have pre-armed robots and has no plans to arm robots with guns. But they 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.

'Robots equipped in this manner would only be used in extreme circumstances to save or prevent further loss of innocent lives,' she said.

Supervisors later amended the proposal on Tuesday to specify that police officers could only use robots after exhausting all other alternative force or de-escalation tactics, or having concluded that they would not be able to subdue the suspect through those alternative means.

Only a limited number of high-ranking SFPD officers could authorize the use of robots as a deadly force option.

The SFPD has 17 robots, 12 of which are fully functional but have never been used to attack individuals or deliver explosive devices, police officials said. The robots are remote-controlled and are typically used to investigate and defuse potential bombs or to survey areas too difficult or dangerous for officers to access

The decision comes as San Francisco ramped up its funding for police to curb the rise in crime. A year ago, Mayor London Breed pleaded with the city's Board of Supervisors to increase the money available to police.

In an impassioned speech in December 2021, the mayor said: 'It is time for the reign of criminals to end. And it comes to an end when are we more aggressive with law enforcement and less tolerant of all the bulls**t that has destroyed our city.'

But it was only eighteen months earlier that Mayor Breed slashed $120 million from the police's budget. San Francisco was one of the first US cities to do so in light of the Black Lives Matter protests.

But major crime has skyrocketed amidst the flip-flopping from Mayor Breed.
crime rate san francisco

Major crime in San Francisco is already up by 5.4 percent so far this year from 2021, with assault up 8.7 percent and robbery up 6.4 percent
Major crime in San Francisco is already up by 5.4 percent so far this year from 2021, with assault up 8.7 percent and robbery up 6.4 percent.

Amid scenes of misery on city streets, where drug use is brazen and homelessness is rampant, a recent poll found that a majority of San Franciscans believe their city is going downhill, and a third plan to leave the city within three years.
citizen perception safety san francisco crime rate
In recent months, Asian Americans have staged protests and disrupted traffic, angered by cops failing to protect them and prosecute hate crimes, particularly against elderly members of the city's sizeable community.
residents leave san francisco crime rate
Many residents blame Mayor London Breed, whose earlier popularity for steering the city through the pandemic appears to have waned amid rising crime, the fentanyl epidemic and other woes.

Several high-profile crimes have plagued San Francisco in recent years.

Outgoing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's husband Paul Pelosi was attacked with a hammer at their San Francisco home on October 28.

The 82-year-old Paul Pelosi was violently assaulted by a hammer-wielding intruder in the early hours of the morning. Pelosi's attacker, 42-year-old David DePape, faces attempted murder charges. He is believed to have broken into the home around 2.30am, yelling: 'Where's Nancy?' - a cry held on January 6 as rioters stormed the Capitol.

Last month, a prominent San Francisco real estate mogul who lives near Nancy Pelosi revealed that was mugged for his watch outside his $15 million Pacific Heights home. Hamid Moghadam, the CEO of Prologis, said that two armed robbers confronted him on June 26, flashed guns at him and took his Patek Philippe watch.

The executive says that the rampant crime rate has reached a tipping point, saying the city 'may never recover' because its residents have 'no sense of security.'

Mr Moghadam, who shares the neighborhood with some of the world's most rich and powerful people, like Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, angel investor Peter Thiel and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, according to Bloomberg News, said the experience left him shaken.

Some 35 percent of San Franciso residents believe that Mayor Breed has so far done a 'poor or very poor job' at making the city a better place to live and work since being elected, while 42 percent said she'd done a 'fair job' and only 23 percent an 'excellent or good job.'

Her flip-flopping on crime policy has infuriated residents as she went from wanting to 'defund the police' in 2020 to increasing police oversight and presiding a city that will now use potentially lethal robots to tackle crime.

Many critics have hit out at the decision to use the remote-controlled robots to curb crime.

The new state law came into effect this year requiring that municipalities like San Francisco give their explicit authorization to allow police and sherif departments to inventory military-grade equipment and seek approval for their use.

The state law was authored last year by San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu while he was an assembly member. It is aimed at giving the public a forum and voice in the acquisition and use of military-grade weapons that have a negative effect on communities, according to the legislation. A federal program has long dispensed grenade launchers, camouflage uniforms, bayonets, armored vehicles and other surplus military equipment to assist local law enforcement.


Comment: Good Lord. But if the big boys want new toys, they have to sell off their current stock.


In 2017, then-President Donald Trump signed an order reviving the Pentagon program after his predecessor, Barack Obama, curtailed it in 2015, triggered in part by outrage over the use of military gear during protests in Ferguson, Missouri, after the shooting death of Michael Brown.

San Francisco police said late Tuesday that no robots were obtained from military surplus, but some were purchased with federal grant money.
police robot bomb squad
© Agence France-Press/Getty
A bomb squad robot can be seen investigating a suspicious bag. Only a limited number of high-ranking SFPD officers could authorize the use of robots as a deadly force option
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.

Debate on Tuesday ran more than two hours with members on both sides accusing the other of reckless fear-mongering.

Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, who voted in favor of the policy authorization, said he was troubled by rhetoric painting the police department as untrustworthy and dangerous.

'I think there's larger questions raised when progressives and progressive policies start looking to the public like they are anti-police,' he said. 'I think that is bad for progressives. I think it's bad for this Board of Supervisors. I think it's bad for Democrats nationally.'

Board President Shamann Walton, who voted against the proposal, pushed back, saying it made him not anti-police, but 'pro people of color.'

'We continuously are being asked to do things in the name of increasing weaponry and opportunities for negative interaction between the police department and people of color,' he said. 'This is just one of those things.'

The San Francisco Public Defender's office sent a letter Monday to the board saying that granting police 'the ability to kill community members remotely' goes against the city's progressive values. The office wanted the board to reinstate language barring police from using robots against any person in an act of force.