In recent weeks, the Los Angeles Police Department has been promoting a plan to deploy dog-like robots in numerous communities, emphasizing the power that well-funded police lobbyists have in influencing local governments.
Los Angeles City Council's Public Safety Committee members voted to acquire military robots for the Los Angeles Police Department despite clear unified objections from the community.
In the past, semi-autonomous quadrupedal robots have had brief periods of use with police forces across the US. When the COVID-19 pandemic was at its peak in Honolulu, Hawaii, police deployed the bots at homeless encampments. Also, the NYPD used a robot named Digidog to patrol public housing projects before local residents forced the city to return it. Although robot manufacturer Boston Dynamics promised its bots would never harm humans, the San Francisco city council voted last year to allow SFPD's robotic dogs to use lethal force against people.
Five members of the LA City Council Public Safety Committee have received a substantial amount of campaign donations from groups representing LAPD officers — demonstrating how much influence and power the LAPD's private lobbying bodies have become in the city's politics.
LAPD has been one of the nation's most-resourced police forces for decades. Funded by a budget of over $3.2 billion, it can afford virtually any technology needed to surveil and terrorize vulnerable communities. With this spending, LAPD has facilitated the use of helicopter fleets, drones, predictive surveillance, public relations teams, facial recognition technology, and artificial intelligence.
LAPD's acquisition of these robots illustrates the excessive governmental and financial power that supplements the department's annual budget, which is used to wage nonstop state-sanctioned violence against communities of color.
Source: Vice News