Thứ Sáu, Tháng Sáu 2, 2023
HomeNewsCity Council votes to accept controversial LAPD robotic dog donation

City Council votes to accept controversial LAPD robotic dog donation

Amid lingering concerns about surveillance and safety, the Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to accept donated a dog-like robot worth nearly $280,000 to the police department.

The 8-4 vote came after more than a dozen public comments urged council members to vote against the controversial device, which will be paid for with donations from the Los Angeles Police Foundation. .

Board members also approved a plan to require the LAPD to provide quarterly reports on device deployments, including where and why for deployment, outcomes, and any issues.

“This section is painted as merely accepting donations, but it really represents an extension of existing boundaries around control and oversight,” said Councilor Hugo Soto-Martínez in advance. when voting against. “This is not the vision of the community that I believe Los Angeles should be.”

Although the vote was supported by a majority, no council members on Tuesday explained why they endorsed the move. Councilmember Traci Park, who voted for the device, previously dismissed the idea that the robot would put the kit “on the path towards a backward state surveillance future, Orwellian.”

After the vote, members of the public shouted and called Council President Paul Krekorian “disgusting”. According to LAPD spokeswoman Kelly Muniz, a group of disruptive protesters were kicked out.

Minutes later, a man in a puffy black coat scribbled a series of anti-police messages with permanent markers on the marble wall of the third floor leading into the council chamber. Police chased the man through City Hall, but he escaped.

According to Muniz, a crime report of vandalism has been made and will be investigated.

The next third drama a month-long delay about the vote to allow council members “the opportunity to take advantage of any opportunity to get answers to questions that have been raised about existing implementation capabilities, etc,” Krekorian said in March. .

Police officials said the device would only be deployed in limited circumstances requiring a SWAT team response. The device – nicknamed the Spot – can climb stairs, open doors and navigate rough terrain.

Standing nearly 28 inches tall and weighing 70 pounds, Spot is roughly the size of an adult dalmatian. Equipped with 360-degree cameras, the robots collect and process information about their surroundings, which is transmitted in real time to an officer who controls their movements using a tablet-like device. . It can be customized with a mechanical arm to open the door, or sophisticated sensors capable of detecting chemical spills and creating a three-dimensional map of an area.

Officials argued that its presence would allow authorities to avoid placing officers unnecessarily and potentially avoid violent encounters.

Critics have dismissed that claim, expressing concern about the potential for the device to be used to harm and spy on Black and brown communities.

Hamid Khan, with the monitoring group Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, said the LAPD has in the past justified new technology and programs by saying they would only be used in limited circumstances. After that, he said, the rollout was expanded.

“This is also going to happen with the robot dog,” says Khan. “For us, it is also the pain of robot police walking everywhere. And yes, it’s just one, but it’s going to expand.”

At Tuesday’s meeting, some echoed those concerns in public comment. One man told the council he didn’t want to “equip the AI”. Another person, to express his objection, asked the panel: “Have you seen the movie ‘I, Robot’ and ‘[The] Destroyer?'”

Others expressed concerns about the cost. While the equipment will be paid for with a donation, the city will face difficulty in future maintenance and repairs.

“Officers are not trained to use this device, so where will the money come from when it comes to training officers to use this device?” Amerald Wheatley-Johnson, of the LA Community Action Network, asked the question. “Where will the money come from when you decide to scale this technology? It’s not just a donation, and this will cost us a lot more in the long run.”

Before the vote, Soto-Martínez questioned Brendan Schulman, vice president of policy and government for Boston Dynamics, the equipment maker, and David Kowalski, deputy director of the LAPD.

Kowalski points to other police departments in California that have added the device to their inventory, and he said they have called it a “game changer” and a “risk reduction tool.”

Soto-Martínez points to the disastrous deployment of robotic dogs in New York City.

The nation’s largest police force first acquired the technology in 2020. Its use did not come to widespread attention until the following year, when it sparked a public outcry after the following year. when a viral video showed the robot galloping alongside New York City officers in a high-profile hostage situation. -Construction of public housing.

Critics have denounced the decision to use the device in a community they see as overly controlled, while also raising concerns about privacy and data collection. After a few days, the New York City Police Department broke its contract with Boston Dynamics and returned the robot.

“This is a very disturbing law enforcement automation that sets a dangerous precedent for our future and the safety of our community and for that, I will vote no.” Soto – Martinez said.

Councilmembers Heather Hutt, Curren Price and Nithya Raman also voted against accepting the donation.

Councilmember Eunisses Hernandez, who had opposed the donation, was not present on Tuesday for the deliberation. A spokesperson for Hernandez said she is attending the Vienna Social Housing Field Study, a week-long study of social housing in Vienna, Austria, to learn “more about this framework.” housing poverty and how it can be applied to address the housing and homelessness crisis in Los Angeles.”

Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson, who also missed Tuesday’s meeting, is also in Vienna this week.

After the vote, Khan, with the LAPD Coalition to Prevent Spying, expressed his disappointment.

“The LAPD completely controls the city, they control the finances, and the City Council is constantly responding to more and more of what they ask for,” he said.

The council had “turned a blind eye to what people were saying,” he said. It was an overwhelming rejection from every speaker.

Times Libor staff writers Jany and David Zahniser contributed to this report.

Source link


Most Popular