The recent announcement by the Dallas Police Department that they had used a robot armed with explosives to kill suspected police shooter, Micah Johnson, has opened a brand new and rather creative method of controlling the American public. The DPD announced the following:
"When all attempts to negotiate with the suspect, Micah Johnson, failed under the exchange of gunfire, the Department utilized the mechanical tactical robot, as a last resort, to deliver an explosion device to save the lives of officers and citizens.
The robot used was the Remotec, Model F-5, claw and arm extension with an explosive device of C4 plus “Det” cord.
Approximate weight of total charge was one pound."
This use of a police robot to kill a civilian suspect is believed to be the first in United States history.
The robot used, a Remotec Model F-5 is manufactured by REMOTEC, a subsidiary of the world's sixth largest defense manufacturer, Northrop Grumman, headquartered in Clinton, Tennessee. ANDROS are the company's series of remotely controlled robots which are designed for use by the military or by police forces. Here is a screen capture from Northrop Grumman showing the entire fleet of Remotec unmanned vehicles:
From the company's brochure, here is a graphic of the Mark 5A-1 variant:
This variant can be equipped with everything from a modified 12 gauge Franchi 612 shotgun used for breaching to a cordless circular or reciprocating saw to a real-time X-Ray system. It can also be equipped with a gas dispenser (i.e. tear gas for crowd control). It comes with an initial 12 month warranty which can be extended for an additional year in case you were wondering what would happen if your Mark 5A-1 broke down just after the one year warranty was up.
Here is a video showing the Remotec Andros F6A, a sister to the 5A-1 in action to give you a sense of the size of this beast:
When Tazers were first introduced, they were seen as a ground-breaking tool for police forces around the globe. While remotely controlled robots have been in use by police forces as a means of assessing situations where explosive devices may be in play for many years, the use of a robot to actually kill a suspect may well open another legal gray area when it comes to police use of lethal force against civilians.