By David M. Greenwald
San Francisco, CA – Last week the SF Board of Supervisors made national news by passing an ordinance that would allow the police to use robots under limited conditions to use deadly force. The matter comes up for a second reading, but already, one of the Supervisors has announced a reversal of his position.
Gordon Mar in a tweet on Monday said, “I’m grateful to all who’ve expressed concerns with our vote authorizing SFPD to use robots to kill suspects in extreme circumstances. Despite my own deep concerns with the policy, I voted for it after additional guardrails were added.”
He writes, “I regret it. I will vote no tomorrow.”
Mar continued, “Even with additional guardrails, I’ve grown increasingly uncomfortable with our vote & the precedent it sets for other cities without as strong a commitment to police accountability. I do not think making state violence more remote, distanced, & less human is a step forward.”
He added, “I do not think removing the immediacy and humanity of taking a life and putting it behind a remote control is a reasonable step for a municipal police force. I do not think robots with lethal force will make us safer, or prevent or solve crimes.”
He concluded, “In the balance between safety and civil liberties, I see the clear and compelling civil liberties concerns here, and I do not see enough of a safety benefit to justify them. I cannot and will not support this policy moving forward.”
Even with Mar’s reversal, there would need to be two additional changes of mind.
When the Vanguard spoke with Supervisor Dean Preston, he noted that the voters previously opposed a taser policy and that a citizens vote would likely end up opposing such a move.