‘Hands Up Act’ petition reaches over one million signatures

By Keaton Yates, Staff Reporter

In December 2018, Travis Washington, SIU alumnus, created the ‘Hands Up Act’, a policy that would have police officers who shoot unarmed citizens serve a mandatory 15 year sentence.

As of time of publishing, Washington’s petition supporting the policy has reached 1,059,000 signatures and counting.

See more: ‘Hands Up Act’ would punish police for shooting unarmed citizens


See more: Petition · Hands Up Act 

“It feels really good,” Washington said. 

Washington said he is glad he had to wait this long because he learned a lot of patience and was able to communicate to people where he stood through different articles. 

Washington said he has emailed all 100 senators and plans on contacting all 50 governors next. Because of COVID-19, responses have been slow.

“The ‘Hands Up Act’ is the cure we need to put this nation back together,” Washington said.

Washington said this policy is a step toward ending police brutality and guarantees that unarmed and police shootings in general will go down dramatically.

To help get this act passed, Washington plans to work with Congress and the senators to make the ‘Hands Up Act’ more thorough and detailed. 


“I’ll use Dr. King as an example, he pushed for civil rights, but he didn’t write the Civil Rights Bill. I’m pushing for the ‘Hands Up Act’, but I didn’t write the whole thing,” he said.

Officials will help Washington detail the act by deciding how different circumstances should be handled, such as whether the victim is dead or alive, or shot multiple times, he said. 

“Today’s a good day, but to George Floyd’s family, to Breonna Taylor’s family, Ahmaud Arbey’s family, Sean Reed’s family: change is going to come,” Washington said. “This is the time we’re going to continue to push the ‘Hands Up Act’. The ‘Hands Up Act’ needs to be the law of the land.”

See more: Alum and activist returns to SIU for TED Talk: Q&A with Travis Washington

Staff reporter Keaton Yates can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @keatsians.

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