First came Big Brother-like red-light cameras, and now some U.S. citizens could be Tasered into submission – from the sky.
Like something from a creepy science fiction novel, North Dakota has become the first state in the nation to give police the power to equip drones with non-lethal weapons, The Daily Beast reports.
House Bill 1328 was drafted with the intent that police obtain search warrants before using drones to search for criminal evidence. The original bill, sponsored by Republican state Rep. Rick Becker, included language that would have prohibited any weapons on police drones.
That changed when a law enforcement lobbyist with connections to the drone industry was able to amend the bill, the Daily Beast reported.
Bruce Burkett, of the North Dakota Peace Officers Association, was allowed to change the bill so that drones could carry “less than lethal” weapons. Such weapons could include rubber bullets, pepper spray, tear gas, sound cannons, and Tasers, according to the Beast.
Becker foresees a potential disaster. The GOP lawmaker argued that no weapons of any kind should be used on drones because they would make encounters between police and civilians “depersonalized.”
“When you’re not on the ground and you’re making decisions, you’re sort of separate,” he said.
One can imagine it would be much easier to zap someone from the comfort of a desk or vehicle than to confront a would-be criminal in person.
For the time being, Becker says he’ll have to live with the changes even though he doesn’t like them.
“In my opinion, there should be a nice, red line. Drones should not be weaponized, period,” Becker said.
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