Daily Egyptian

‘Hands Up’ bill enters Missouri House

By Rana Schenke, News Desk Editor

Missouri Rep. Brandon Ellington (D-Kansas City) filed a bill in the Missouri House on March 7 which would make it illegal for law officers to shoot suspects while surrendering, according to a Missouri Times press release.

The proposed bill is similar to the ‘Hands Up Act’ proposed by SIU graduate student Travis Washington, although Washington’s act is not acknowledged in the release.

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

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“Although recent reform and training efforts have worked to bring down police shootings, the US Justice Department has moved away from these reforms,” Ellington said in the release. “It’s up to the states to take action, and I believe this bill will serve as a deterrent.”

Ellington’s bill not only makes it a criminal offense to shoot suspects who are surrendering, but also would make it a Class A felony if the person surrendering was killed.

Class A felonies in Missouri are punishable by 10 years to life in prison, according to the Missouri Sentencing Advisory Commission’s website.

Washington’s original act proposed a mandatory 15 year sentence for officers convicted of shooting an unarmed citizen.

“What inspired me to [create the act is] a disconnect between the community and police officers,” Washington said. “If we want to rebuild this trust, we need laws in order to regain the trust.”

Ellington was quoted similarly in the press release about the bill he proposed.

“We all want good police officers serving in our neighborhoods, and we expect them to protect and serve,” Ellington said. “What we don’t want is for police to feel free to act like Judge Dredd where they are the judge, the jury and the executioner.”

As of Sunday, no Missouri House hearing has been scheduled regarding the bill, according to the Kansas City Star.

News Desk Editor Rana Schenke can be reached at [email protected].

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