Use of robot to kill suspected Dallas shooter raises questions

This undated photo posted on Facebook on April 30, 2016, shows Micah Johnson, who was a suspect in the sniper slayings of five law enforcement officers in Dallas Thursday night, July 7, 2016, during a protest over two recent fatal police shootings of black men. An Army veteran, Johnson tried to take refuge in a parking garage and exchanged gunfire with police, who later killed him with a robot-delivered bomb, Dallas Police Chief David Brown said. (Facebook via AP)

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – After an hours-long standoff that included exchanges of gunfire, Dallas Police used a robot to deliver a bomb. Police Chief David Brown said his officers were up against a military trained suspect and saw no other option when they used a robot armed with explosives to kill gunman Micah Johnson. This is one of the first uses of a robotic system by American police in a deliberately lethal manner. Chief Brown carried out a plan law enforcement experts say they’ve never seen done before by local officials.

Local resident Oksana Aleksanko told 22News that she feels there are pros and cons associated with the use of this type of technology. “It’s definitely violating privacy, who knows how the government could use it, they could say one thing and be doing another with it,” she said. “In another sense, it is protecting a lot of lives in the county, like soldiers and officers.”

Specific details have not been revealed regarding the robot’s movements prior to the explosion. Chief Brown says he’d use the robot or other unconventional tactics again in a similar situation. According to law enforcement officials, robots are common inside police departments, but are generally used to disable explosive devices or to incapacitate suspects.

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