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N.Y.P.D.'s Robot Dog Returns to Work, Touching Off a Backlash

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A robotic dog made by Boston Dynamics.

The New York Police Department is one of four law enforcement agencies in the world that own a robotic dog made by Boston Dynamics.

Credit: Josh Reynolds/Associated Press

A group of police officers marched out of a public housing building in Manhattan on Monday with a man who they said had a gun and had been hiding in an apartment with a woman and her baby.

But it was what came out of the building next that really grabbed attention while feeding into a far-reaching debate about policing in New York: a 70-pound robotic dog outfitted with lights, cameras and artificial intelligence.

The four-legged device had only gone into and out of the building's lobby without playing an active role in the operation, the police said. Still, its mere presence at a public housing building ignited a fierce backlash, with many people condemning it as a stark example of police power and misplaced priorities even as calls to address both roil the United States.

"You can't give me a living wage, you can't raise a minimum wage, you can't give me affordable housing; I'm working hard and I can't get paid leave, I can't get affordable child care," Representative Jamaal Bowman, a first-term Democrat who represents parts of the Bronx and Westchester County, said in a video posted on Twitter. "Instead we got money, taxpayer money, going to robot dogs?"

From The New York Times
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