The Dallas Police Department is the first US law enforcement agency to use a robot to kill a suspect, experts say.
Peter W. Singer, a technological expert on national security and military issues, said Friday he believes the decision to turn an explosive ordnance disposal robot into a remote-control bomb in order to take out one of the shooting suspects early Friday was something that has never been done before.
“Yes, this is 1st use of robot in this way in policing,” Singer wrote on Twitter, when asked by University of California Davis law professor Elizabeth Joh whether Americans had just witnessed “the first use of a lethal robot in American policing.”
Singer added that the use of mobile robots — commonly known as MARCbots — to detonate explosives had been observed during the early days of the Iraq War, but never in domestic policing....
At a press conference Friday, Dallas Police Chief David Brown said authorities deployed the robot after negotiations with the suspect — identified as Micah Xavier Johnson, 25 — failed.
“We saw no other option but to use our bomb robot and place a device on its extension for it to detonate where the suspect was,” he said. “Other options would have exposed our officers to great danger. The suspect is deceased as a result of detonating the bomb.”