Peter W. Singerand Emefa Addo Agawuwrote for Voxabout robocops and the police:
This summer, the fatal shootings of unarmed black men (in St. Paul, Minnesota, Baton Rouge, and elsewhere) and of police officers (in Dallas and Baton Rouge) reenergized the national debate surrounding race relations and the use of force by police in the United States. Yet amid the now all-too-familiar characters – unarmed black men, armed police officers, bystanders with cameras — emerged a new one: a robot with the power to kill.
Micah Xavier Johnson, the Dallas shooter, will go down in history as a domestic terrorist who killed five officers and wounded nine others. He will also go down in history as the first person killed by an armed police robot. Johnson was killed in a standoff when Dallas police sent in a remote operated Remotec bomb disposal robot that had been jury-rigged to carry a pound of C-4 plastic explosives.
It is easy to Monday-morning-quarterback the judgment call of SWAT team tactics in Dallas. On one hand, there was an active shooter who had just murdered five police officers protecting a peaceful protest. "Other options would have exposed our officers to grave danger," Dallas Police Chief David Brown said at a subsequent news conference.