Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) slammed the New York Police Department for deploying its new robotic dog in the Bronx, suggesting that the $75,000 new crime-fighting tech is wasteful and its existence racist.
The democratic socialist "Squad" leader criticized the NYPD's "Digidog" after it was deployed to respond to a home invasion last week, saying that the resources spent to build the robot should have been allocated to serve other community needs.
"Shout out to everyone who fought against community advocates who demanded these resources go to investments like school counseling instead," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. "Now robotic surveillance ground drones are being deployed for testing on low-income communities of color with under-resourced schools."
Please ask yourself: when was the last time you saw next-generation, world class technology for education, healthca… https://t.co/A5I3nzcURD— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)1614281834.0
According to the New York Post, the NYPD's "Digidog" is still in its test phase. The 70-pound robot is equipped with lights and cameras that allow the police to view "its surroundings in real-time." The robot also is equipped with two-way communication, can run up to 3.5 miles per hour, can see in the dark, and can climb stairs.
"Digidog" uses artificial intelligence to navigate and was designed to allow police to respond in emergency situations that are too dangerous for human officers.
"This dog is going to save lives, protect people, and protect officers and that's our goal," NYPD Technical Assistance Response Unit Inspector Frank Digiacomo said.
The Daily Mail reported that "Digidog" was deployed to a home invasion and barricade situation on East 227th Street near White Plains Road in Wakefield on Tuedsay.
Two men were reportedly being held hostage in a Bronx apartment. They had been threatened at gun point, tied up and tortured for hours by two male assailants who pretended to be plumbers to gain access to the home.
One of the victims managed to escape and called the police.
Digidog was deployed and helped officers determine that the armed suspects were no longer inside the home.
The police said they were still searching for the two men, who stole a cellphone and $2,000 in cash and used a hot iron to burn one of the victims.
Though the police are confident that the new technology can help save officer's lives in dangerous situations, Ocasio-Cortez believes money spent on crime fighting would be better reallocated for education or health care in "underserved communities."
"Please ask yourself: when was the last time you saw next-generation, world class technology for education, healthcare, housing, etc consistently prioritized for underserved communities like this?" she asked in a follow-up tweet.