Police officials told The New York Times that the department had ended its $94,000 contract with the robot dog’s maker on April 22 in response to the inquiries from Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Councilman Ben Kallos.
The lease on the dog, which had been scheduled to end in August, was cut short after the pup became a “target,” said John Miller, the NYPD’s deputy commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism.
He said people were improperly using the dog to fuel arguments about race and surveillance, according to the Times.
“People had figured out the catchphrases and the language to somehow make this evil,” Miller said.
Police had previously used the dog in February while responding to a home invasion and hostage situation in the Bronx — earning jeers from local politicians including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who called it a “robotic surveillance ground drone.”
The bot weighs 70 pounds, has cameras and lights, is capable of two-way communication and is able to use artificial intelligence to navigate its environment.
Kallos, who has proposed legislation to ban NYPD from using any weaponized robots or drones, told the Times that the dog underscored what he called the “militarization of the police.”
“At a time where we should be having more beat cops on the street, building relationships with residents, they’re actually headed in another direction in trying to replace them with robots,” the Manhattan rep said.