Early Friday morning authorities made history in the U.S. using a drone in Dallas to kill shooter Micah Johnson. Johnson killed five police officers and injured seven. Now the question of whether Johnson was killed without due process – no jury, no trial – or whether he needed to be neutralized will arise.
Perhaps the biggest question mark is the police’s use of a robot drone to kill a man.
It’s not the first time drones have been used on U.S. soil. In 2011, drones were used in North Dakota to capture three suspects who chased off a sheriff.
It’s also not the first time that an American was killed by a drone. In 2011, American born Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki was killed by a foreign drone strike in Yemen.
It is however the first time that police have used a drone to kill an American citizen on U.S. soil without due process – no judge, no jury.
In 2013, police in LA discussed using a drone to find and kill suspected mass cop murderer and ex-LAPD officer Christopher Dorner exactly this way. Instead they burned him to a crisp by setting the cabin he was hiding in on fire.
A few years back the question arose about the legality of it all with many saying it was without a doubt highly illegal.
Now here we have an event three years later where a robot strapped with C4 albeit without wings was used to kill a suspected shooter, Micah Johnson. Was it justified because he was killing police officers?
What’s changed from 2013 to 2016? Back then many were saying that was the death of due process the (5th Amendment) right to a fair trial. Now we have a dead suspect who was killed by a robot a first on U.S. soil — this is dangerous and could set a precedent of what’s to come in America.
A recent article on defenseone.com a military & police technology website, said that military robotics makers currently see a future for armed police robots.
Here’s an example of why this is dangerous: this man Mark Hughes, was wrongly identified as the shooter. Police lied to him and said they had video of him shooting. If there is no due process this man could have been convicted for a crime he didn’t do simply for being legally armed at the protest at the wrong place at the wrong time. What if police had sent a drone in to take out Mark Hughes or someone else who was innocent but who was armed? There would have been innocent causalities.
Here’s a picture of what the robot might have looked like. This picture is from Arlington, Texas but it gives you an idea of what the robot might have looked like used by the Dallas Explosive Ordinance Squad. This is a standard model of the Grumman Remotec Andros F6A or F6B used by military and police officials.
Now you could argue what are police supposed to do in that type of situation?
And the shooter definitely needed to be neutralized. However, this could create a gray area for law enforcement to use lethal force and needs to be regulated immediately to be a last resort option.
“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”
~Dallas police chief David Brown said.
We will be preparing for Skynet
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