If American police forces start using unmanned aerial drones to attack citizens, does that by definition make the United States a police state? Report by Hannah Yi for The Daily:
As a Texas sheriff prepares to use an unmanned drone as his force’s eye in the sky, and perhaps even arm it with nonlethal weapons like Tasers and rubber bullets, civil liberties groups are crying foul.
In the coming weeks, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office north of Houston says it will deploy a $300,000 ShadowHawk drone — bought with a federal homeland security grant — to spy on criminals, support SWAT operations and look for missing persons.
The unmanned helicopter is about the size of a large dog, has a range of 25 miles and can be operated for 11 percent of the cost of a manned helicopter, according to the ShadowHawk’s manufacturer, Vanguard Defense Industries.
A spokeswoman for the American Civil Liberties Union said the sheriff’s office’s 50-pound device is part of a worrying rise of unmanned surveillance by police…
While McDaniel said the department has no interest in loading lethal weapons systems onto its ShadowHawk, he said the sheriff’s office was open to the idea of adding non-lethal weapons like tear gas, rubber bullets or Taser-style rounds to the drone.
“Those are things that law enforcement utilizes day in and day out and in certain situations it might be advantageous to have this type of system on the UAV,” he said. McDaniel said the department had no specific plans do so but, even so, civil libertarians like Bokenkamp called the possibility of a Taser- or tear-gas-wielding police drones “really frightening.”…
[continues at The Daily]