by Minister of Information JR Valrey, Oakland Bureau Chief
On Tuesday, Dec. 6, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors will cast the final vote on a policy, approved last week with a 8 to 3 vote, which allows the San Francisco Police Department to use remote controlled robots capable of inflicting lethal force on people suspected of certain crimes. As we recently saw with Mayor Breed locking down San Francisco during the COVID pandemic, once San Francisco makes a political move, the rest of the nation and world follows in lock-step. With San Francisco Police Department’s record of lying and making excuses for the police murders of Idriss Stelley, Gus Rugley, Kenneth Harding, Mario Woods, Alex Nieto, and so many more, residents have to think about whether or not they want to give the SFPD the ability to kill people remotely.
“We have been told by the Department of Justice to institute 272 recommendations to reform our police department, and yet the decision is being made to further weaponize the police department,” explained Board of Supervisors President Shamann Walton.
“This is not in line with making changes to address the disproportionate number of Black people and people of color that are typically on the receiving end when police are utilized. We should be focused on alternatives to force, de-escalation and community policing strategies, instead of looking at more ways to incorporate lethal force.
“It seems that we are going backwards in addressing real reform strategies and using scare tactics and invisible scenarios to justify this direction. I have not heard one scenario that warrants using robots to use lethal force and, in fact, every scenario presented seems like it would add to the number of possible casualties in a dangerous situation.”
On Monday, Dec. 5, in front of San Francisco City Hall, a rally was organized by Supervisors Dean Preston and Hillary Ronen. President of the Board of Supervisors Shamann Walton was also in attendance, along with community members and activists from all over San Francisco.
“San Francisco is no longer a progressive city after this vote,” stated Geoffrea Morris emphatically. “By intending to allow the deployment of a lethal robot to kill a human being under any circumstances is capital punishment without due process. This will be government sanctioned and board of supervisors-endorsed execution. This by its very nature is the death penalty.
This will be government sanctioned and board of supervisors-endorsed execution.
“In my opinion, this vote says the City and County of San Francisco supports the death penalty, and as a community activist and native of this city, I cannot support it.” Geoffrea Morris is co-founder of Black Wallstreet and a community activist.
July 8, 2016, in Dallas, according to police experts, was the first time in the United States’ history that a robot was used by a police department, the Dallas Police Department, to kill a suspect, Micah Johnson.
“SFPD, like most police departments in major cities, has a SWAT team that is trained on special tactics and weapons that it uses to deal with everyday policing issues. A robot will not make San Francisco any safer than it already is, because the equipment is only as good as the person controlling it,” says Civil Rights Attorney Adante Pointer, of Pointer and Buelna LLP.
“Furthermore, I’m not aware of any life threatening situation SFPD was called to deal with that SFPD said that they didn’t have the equipment that they needed. SFPD already has guns, assault rifles, explosives, snipers and partners with highly trained federal law enforcement agencies,” he added.
“I am always worried that police are being given too much leeway to inflict harm and terror on the community without being held fully responsible for the decision that they made, to use force, or the devastating impact it has on our community; a robot dog is no different. Just because today the SFPD says the dog will not have a gun doesn’t mean they won’t change their position later.
“The first cell phone didn’t have a camera, and now we wouldn’t even think about buying a smartphone if it didn’t have a camera included. So to think, we will never see a police robot outfitted with guns, bombs, or artificial intelligence to make life and death decisions is naive at best, and foolish at worse,” lamented Attorney Adante Pointer.
We are asking all residents and business owners residing or working in San Francisco County to call their district supervisor asap and stress that the people of San Francisco County are adamantly opposed to the San Francisco Police Department receiving robots that can be used for lethal force.