Thanks to Dave Ries, who sent me an article from CNN relating how Connecticut police officers would have the ability to use drones equipped with lethal weapons under a bill now pending in the state House of Representatives. The bill authorizing police use of "deadly" weaponized drones passed 34-7 in the state legislature's joint Judiciary Committee in late March and will go to the full House for a vote.
Committee co-chair Paul Doyle said law enforcement should be able to use drones, but only as a last resort. "It's conceivable that it is a positive resolution in an emergency, aka terrorist situation," he told CNN. "If a terrorist is in the middle of an operation, in theory, the drone could kill him."
Another co-chair of the Judiciary Committee, William Tong, told CNN the entire bill is intended to improve public safety. The amendment allows law enforcement to use drones if they feel it's necessary, but it prevents citizens from weaponizing drones on their own.
The head of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Connecticut, David McGuire, said the group is troubled by the potential for police to misuse drones if the amendment becomes law.
"We've seen some police in Connecticut use disproportionate force against people of minorities, and we think that drones would exacerbate this problem," McGuire told CNN. "We've been working hard to try and reestablish trust in law enforcement, and this bill sends the wrong message."
Connecticut would not be the first state to allow police to use weaponized drones. North Dakota passed a bill two years ago that allows their use, though it says the weapons must not be lethal.
My take? Since issuing a Taser to police has gone so well (not) and they have not been used in a discriminatory manner (who are we kidding?), what could possibly go wrong with the police having weaponized drones?
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