Hands Up Act
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My name is Travis Washington. I received my M. A, degree in Higher Education and Administration from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in May 2019. I have been politically involved, from registering people to vote, to work in the Springfield Capitol (as an Alexander Lane Fellow, January to May 2017).
We know how so many people of cultural minorities are in constant fear of leaving their household. This fear in our lives far too often comes from individuals working in public safety who harm people. Every single week we hear about another unarmed innocent vulnerable human being shot by the police. This has increased the trauma and fear that has made people of color scared to leave their homes.
We need legislation now that prohibits police officers from shooting unarmed citizens. If there isn’t a weapon found after someone has been shot (therefore, unarmed) by a police officer, then I propose that the officer should receive a mandatory 15-year prison sentence.
We have seen over and over police officers get off, even with videotape footage of citizens having been shot by police officers. This is a new form of lynching. I am pleading with you to propose a bill that protects people who have every right to feel threatened by law enforcement. We always say we need more training for those involved in public safety, and there are increasing policies and laws that mandate that police officers have “body cameras” on them. Those measures do not address the whole problem, not when the individual officers who shoot unarmed victims aren’t punished.
Senator, we are in a crisis where relationships between people of color and police officers are deteriorating, beyond the critical level. In order to build any sort of positive relationships again, we need laws to keep a balance in the lives of all the public. I might even suggest this as a title for this proposed legislation: the Hands UP ACT.
I will be emailing this to the all of your colleagues in the U. S. Senate, members of Congress, State Governors; Democracy Now, the Huffington Post, ThinkProgress; and to other appropriate organizations across the country. Once this petition receives enough attention. My goal to speak before the House of Representatives or United Nations during a committee hearing to bring attention to this policy.
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