Dallas Police Chief David Brown on Monday defended the use of a bomb-carrying robot to kill Afghanistan war veteran Micah Johnson, the gunman who killed five police officers during what started out as a peaceful protest over the fatal police shootings of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota. The $150,000 robot police employed against Johnson is normally used as a bomb-disposal tool. It is a remote-controlled machine with a camera to aid the operator, and it has a 60-pound weight capacity. In what is believed to be the first instance of its kind in the U.S., police “improvised” and modified the robot to deliver a 1-pound brick of the plastic explosive C4.
I would use any tool necessary to save our officers’ lives. I’m not ashamed to say it.
Dallas Police Chief David Brown
Johnson, a black 25-year-old, used an assault rifle in Thursday’s attack. People can carry such guns openly under Texas law, a provision now under scrutiny due to its potential for complicating police work. Most states allow people to carry long arms — rifles and shotguns — in public with no need for a permit. About 20 such armed men had joined the demonstration in Dallas over the police-involved shootings. Some even carried gas masks and wore bulletproof vests.