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Connecticut May Become First US State To Allow Deadly Police Drones (reuters.com) 83

According to Reuters, Connecticut lawmakers are considering a new bill that would allow police to equip drones with potentially lethal weapons. The bill, which was approved overwhelmingly by the state legislature's judiciary committee on Wednesday, actually aims to ban weaponized drones, but exempts the ban from law enforcement agencies. From the report: Connecticut would become the first U.S. state to allow law enforcement agencies to use drones equipped with deadly weapons if a bill opposed by civil libertarians becomes law. The legislation was introduced as a complete ban on weaponized drones but just before the committee vote it was amended to exclude police from the restriction. "Data shows police force is disproportionately used on minority communities, and we believe that armed drones would be used in urban centers and on minority communities," said David McGuire, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Connecticut. "That's not the kind of precedent we want to set here," McGuire said of the prospect that Connecticut would become the first state to allow police to use lethally armed drones. If Connecticut's Democratic-controlled House passes the bill it will move to the Senate, which is split evenly between Democrats and Republicans.
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Connecticut May Become First US State To Allow Deadly Police Drones

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  • WTF (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 01, 2017 @06:45PM (#54158719)

    Who needs republicans when democrats arm the police like that. RIP civil liberties.

    • it says their Democratic governor previously opposed the measure, but it doesn't say who sponsored the amendment. It just notes Democrats control their State Senate. If the bill passes you might have a point. The Dems are tight with the police, so that could be where this is coming from. If so my party just done fucked up. But OTOH if the bill fails then, well, nothing to see here. It might also be a poison pill meant to kill the bill. Who knows. Politics is a mess.
  • by SeaFox ( 739806 ) on Saturday April 01, 2017 @06:49PM (#54158729)

    Skynet's army was built by the humans.

  • CT just wants it to realize its potential
  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Saturday April 01, 2017 @07:01PM (#54158771)

    SO the real story is that Connecticut is going to outlaw you and me using weapons on drones, but just omits police from the restriction. That's not "allowing" the police to do anything, it's just not restricting them... the same way that I don't think any other states restrict police/drone use either. So they would hardly be the "first" since police are not really banned from doing this anywhere else either.

    On a side note I think its a really bad idea to ban weapons on drones for private citizens, as they could make really good self-defense units. Why can't, for example, a gated community or large ranch be patrolled by armed drones?

    • by Jzanu ( 668651 )
      Liability. Just because something is "gated" doesn't give extra rights to kill beyond personal defense. There is no personal defense with a drone, so some remote operator killing with one is just committing the crime of murder.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Self-defense isn't the only situation in which lethal force can be used in most states. In my state, it's also legal to use deadly force to prevent a forcible felony, which includes "treason; murder; manslaughter; sexual battery; carjacking; home-invasion robbery; robbery; burglary; arson; kidnapping; aggravated assault; aggravated battery; aggravated stalking; aircraft piracy; unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bomb; and any other felony which involves the use or threat
        • by anegg ( 1390659 ) on Saturday April 01, 2017 @08:40PM (#54158977)

          I underwent firearms training in a US state that also permitted, according to statue law, deadly force to prevent a variety of felonies in addition to severe bodily harm to us or someone else. We were advised in class that any such use of deadly force by us, mere citizens, would most likely result in a homicide conviction. Statute law is one thing, case law and jury outcomes are another. Heck, in some US states you can be found guilty of homicide for using deadly force to protect yourself from death or grievous bodily harm if a jury (making a judgement after the fact and not in the heat of the moment) determines that you had the opportunity to flee and did not avail yourself of that opportunity - sometimes even if you are in your own home. So-called "castle doctrine" and "stand your ground" laws address these in some US states, but not all.

          The police are generally not under any such limitations. There was a case in Maryland (when I resided there) where an officer used deadly force against an unarmed, naked man, and that was thought to be be ok because the officer, standing in the doorway of his cruiser, was able to determine that the use of deadly force was necessary to protect himself from that extreme threat. I was under no illusion as to what result I could expect in court if, as a homeowner, I used deadly force against an unarmed, naked intruder in my home. I would be laughed all the way to jail if I claimed I had reasonable (not bare) fear of death or grievous bodily harm from the unarmed, naked guy.

          I don't think allowing drones to pack deadly force is a good idea at all, not for private citizens and especially not for the police. The militarization of police in the US is already a big problem, and his (robot-deployed lethal force) is a line that we (our society) is crossing, and it is not a good one. The use of the police robot armed with explosives to kill the guy in Texas http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/09/opinions/dallas-robot-questions-singer/ [cnn.com] was the first foray across this line, and others will probably follow. Not good at all, in my opinion.

          Another step towards making subjects out of citizens.

          • I underwent firearms training in a US state that also permitted, according to statue law, deadly force to prevent a variety of felonies in addition to severe bodily harm to us or someone else. We were advised in class that any such use of deadly force by us, mere citizens, would most likely result in a homicide conviction.

            That seems unlikely. All you'd have to do is to demonstrate in court that a reasonable person in your shoes may have believed the action necessary to prevent the forcible felony. Note that I don't doubt that your instructor told you it would most likely result in a homicide conviction; I'm sure he did. But there are a lot of concealed carry instructors who say a lot of incorrect things. Try to find an actual case where someone was convicted for using deadly force to prevent a forcible felony. I'll bet you c

          • I was under no illusion as to what result I could expect in court if, as a homeowner, I used deadly force against an unarmed, naked intruder in my home. I would be laughed all the way to jail if I claimed I had reasonable (not bare) fear of death or grievous bodily harm from the unarmed, naked guy.

            So you don't think an 'unarmed' naked guy can do you serious bodily injury? I don't know about your state, but where I am I don't need to fear death to use deadly force, only serious bodily injury. If a guy is in my house and coming at me I don't give a shit what he's wearing. I will stop the threat.

      • There is no personal defense with a drone

        Well, there could be. If the drone could be ejected, say, upon pressing a panic button, from very nearby and distinguish you from a threat next to you...

    • the same way that I don't think any other states restrict police/drone use either.

      You're saying the police are under zero control by any elected officials?

      Then again, you probably think that's a good thing.

    • Exclusion from prohibition is the same as permission. Maybe not as much an endorsement as a bill ordering taxpayers to buy the killer robots for police, but the lawmakers made their intent clear so a judge will not prosecute police for killing you from a mile away.
      • A mile away or up and close... if our local peace officers have to resort to lethal force then you damn well deserve what's coming.

        • by BlueStrat ( 756137 ) on Saturday April 01, 2017 @11:33PM (#54159283)

          A mile away or up and close... if our local peace officers have to resort to lethal force then you damn well deserve what's coming.

          Did you "sieg heil!" after hitting "submit"?

          Yes, police are infallible, and are never ever corrupt, murderers, or suffer psychological problems. /s

          http://photographyisnotacrime.... [photograph...acrime.com]

          Imagine guys like that with access to drones with a rocket launcher or an automatic weapon.

          I want all police restricted to shotguns, .38SP revolvers, and bolt-action rifles, with body armor, armored vehicles, automatic and/or crew-served weapons, and any explosive/incendiary devices like flash-bang grenades banned for use by domestic law enforcement. Police already have more than enough advantage in training, organization/communications, and numbers over any criminal or gang. It keeps them honest and respectful of those they police when they know they *can* be taken out by those in their community if they go too far.

          Sorry, if those terms are unacceptable to any LEO's, there are other jobs. TSA is always looking for screeners and it's much safer.

          Strat

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Why can't, for example, a gated community or large ranch be patrolled by armed drones?

      Go read "Snow Crash" by Neal Stephenson and think about your question.

    • Why can't, for example, a gated community or large ranch be patrolled by armed drones?

      Takes all the fun out of it. Shooting trespassers in person is much more gratifying than doing it by remote.

  • by GrahamJ ( 241784 ) on Saturday April 01, 2017 @07:05PM (#54158779)
    America - where every day is April fool's day!
  • You got me there for a minute. This story is much better written than the other C vs C++ April fools prank.

    (hoping that this is so, but not a real thing, or maybe the police is just trolling).

  • by jenningsthecat ( 1525947 ) on Saturday April 01, 2017 @09:16PM (#54159067)

    Of course, the security on police kill drones will be so good that they can't possibly be taken over by hackers. Innocent citizens will never he injured or killed by hijacked police drones, and if that does by some remote chance happen, the police will certainly not deny responsibility or disclaim liability. So I guess it's all good.

  • The cops have used robots for quite a few years to kill barricaded, hostile criminals. Those robots might drag a cable behind them or use some sort of radio link but the end effect is that they can kill when need be. I think what is behind the article is an objection to flying robots that remain under the control of a human operator. The next move might be a totally automatic hovering or stationary device that instantly fires at the flash from a gun muzzle. All in all, it is going to be harder to be
    • ...or, at least, an Enemy of the State.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Flash from a gun muzzle...
      Or from a lighter.
      Or from a camera.
      Or from reflections.

      It's not getting harder to be a criminal every year. In fact it gets easier every year. Criminality is just changing. Now, the proper way is to wear a badge, or become an elected official. Crime does not just pay now. It comes with a pension. Just, don't forget the turfs are owned and organized.

  • by bradley13 ( 1118935 ) on Sunday April 02, 2017 @02:22AM (#54159475) Homepage

    That would allow even less responsibility. It seems that US police already shoot first, determine whether they are in actual danger second. Allowing them to shoot by remote-control seems insane. At most, weaponized drones belong in the hands of the military, not the police.

    On the other hand, it's certain that bubba is going to strap his shotgun to a drone, just to see what happens. No law is going to stop that.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Shoot first, assess personal danger later, is no longer applicable when you have a remote drone operator. In addition you cannot conveniently have a camera malfunction (or forget to turn it on), since the drone cannot be controlled without that footage. So at least two flaws addressed, and hard to see the reasons in support of more trigger happy officers. It may permit vastly superior efficacy, which is a problem depending on who is in charge.. but that issue already exists, just to a lesser degree.

  • by Anonymous Coward

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  • You have 20 seconds to comply.

  • If they can guarantee that there are no accidents, highjackings or other problems, then sure. But what happens when they launch a missile at a vehicle and it misses and hits an apartment building or a school?
  • Hoverdrone [google.com]
  • Should we not FIRST ensure we have police departments that are fully staffed with MATURE, level-headed, impartial persons?!

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.

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