Travis Washington started a petition to U.S. House of Representatives.
We know how so many people of cultural minorities are in constant fear of leaving their homes. We are afraid because individuals working in public safety are harming innocent 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.
Travis Washington has proposed 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.
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.
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. Washington suggests that the proposed legislation be named the Hands UP ACT.
Washington wants to collect 500,000 to 1 million petition signatures, enough, he believes, to bring awareness and get him an invitation to speak before a Congressional committee.
Lives are at stake
So far this year, 390 people have been killed by police, according to a Washington Post database of police shootings. Since the newspaper began tracking that information in 2015, about 1,000 people have been killed each year by police.
Studies have found that black people are shot by police at disproportionate rates, and unarmed victims are more likely to be black. According to a 2018 Harvard study, black men ages 15 to 34 are nine to 16 times more likely to be killed by police than other people.
Policies that mandate trainings and body cams have not stopped the brutality. They’ve only reinforced what many already believe: too many law enforcement officers have no respect for the lives in the black communities they police.
What’s most troubling is that there has been little to no accountability. Since 2005, 98 police officers have been arrested, and only 35 convicted to date, according to the Police Integrity Research Group at Bowling Green State University.
You can sign the petition at www.change.org/p/us-senate-hands-up-act