Again, reality seems to be copying fiction: the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), in the United States, announced that it would begin testing a new device that seems taken
of a Batman movie.
BolaWrap, a mechanism that triggers a cable that can entangle an individual's torso or legs at a distance of up to 8 meters.
According to the authorities, the device, which about 200 LAPD police will begin testing from January, is intended to restrict the movement of potential fugitives, which will allow agents to take control measures without using force.
"If you use such a tool, it gives the agents time to deploy a secondary option," commented the chief of police of the Californian city of Bell, Carlos Islas,
according to the LA Times newspaper.
"Inevitably immobilize someone. It is a tool that has taken a long time to arrive," he added.
Islands commented that the device will only be used in specific circumstances, including cases in which people suffer from mental health problems.
However, civil rights groups have expressed concern about their potential use in a country where frequent abuses of police force against unarmed individuals have been reported.
"Tools like these create the illusion that the police application will be less violent. The reality is that, as we have seen with electric shock and other lethal weapons, they will be used to expand police violence," said John Raphling, principal investigator of the organization
Human Rights Watch
"Instead of giving more power to the police, we should rethink what is the role of the police in our country," he added.
Adam Smith, a member of Black Lives Matter, a movement against violence against African Americans, expressed, for his part, concern that the new weapon will be used primarily in communities where minority groups live in the city.
What is the device?
The BolaWrap has two small countries at each end of the straps that attach to a person when they make contact
Wrap Technologies, the company that makes the weapon, describes it as "a hand held remote holding device that unloads an 8-meter ball-style Kevlar strap."
At the ends of the belt, shot at 156 meters per second, there are two small countries that adhere to a person when they make contact.
"The suspects are held with minimal or no pain, while agents are allowed to investigate the situation," the company says on its website.
Who already uses the device?
The rope is wound in a way that limits the movement of the legs
Several police forces, including those of Fresno in California and Hendersonville in North Carolina, have been training their agents to use the BolaWrap in the streets.
In October, a Fresno cop used it to stop a man who had stabbed two people with a kitchen knife.
Last month, the Santa Cruz Sheriff's Office said it had bought 20 BolaWrap that it hoped would prove "another less lethal force option" among those used by its agents.
What other new technologies are the police using?
This robot is used to keep agents out of danger in potentially dangerous situations. Credit: Getty Images
The device is one of several recent examples of the use of new technologies for police purposes in the United States.
Last month, Massachusetts state police said they were using
Remote robot dogs to keep agents out of danger in potentially dangerous situations.
A department spokesman said the robot, manufactured by Boston Dynamics, was "a valuable tool for law enforcement due to its ability to provide situational awareness of potentially dangerous environments."
The American Civil Liberties Union, a rights group, asked the law enforcement agency to explain how robots were used, which generated concern about the transparency of the device and possible racial injustice.
. BolaWrap: the controversial Batman-style weapon that the United States police test – LA NACION