News Ticker

Hands Up, The Universal Sign of Surrender Unless Your A Black Man

The universal sign of surrender is to have your hands up. Open Palms is a universal sign of honesty, nothing to hide, no weapons.

In military engagement, hands up is supposed to indicate ‘I give up fighting’, understood as such by all and used in movies, media and cartoons.

But why in Law Enforcement when it comes to Black Men surrendering to police, hands up, which is understood as a sign of surrender is being constantly shot at, shot or killed.


The shooting of Florida Black man, Charles Kinsey, a behavior therapist, who was lying on the ground holding both hands in the air, next to a 23-year-old man with autism.


The recent shooting of a Tulsa Black Man, Terence Crutcher, 40, who also had his hands up, standing beside his vehicle and was shot dead by police.

Hands up being the universal sign of surrender, why are officers so ready to use deadly force against black men in particular while omitting all training of use of force by bypassing the force continuum. Police are trained that deadly force is always the last result. But when it comes to people of color it seems to be the first.

The Use of Force Continuum is a standard that provides law enforcement officers and with guidelines as to how much force may be used against a resisting subject in a given situation.


Law enforcement is one the most dangerous jobs in the world. To protect the officer and those that they serve, most law enforcement agencies have policies that guide their use of force. These policies describe an escalating series of actions, an officer may take to resolve a situation. This continuum generally has many levels, and officers are instructed to respond with a level of force appropriate to the situation at hand, acknowledging that the officer may move from one part of the continuum to another in a matter of seconds.

An example of a use-of-force continuum follows:
Officer Presence — No force is used. Considered the best way to resolve a situation.
◦ The mere presence of a law enforcement officer works to deter crime or diffuse a situation.
◦ Officers’ attitudes are professional and non-threatening.

Verbalization — Force is not-physical.
◦ Officers issue calm, non-threatening commands, such as “Let me see your identification and registration.”
◦ Officers may increase their volume and shorten commands in an attempt to gain compliance. Short commands might include “Stop,” or “Don’t move.”

Empty-Hand Control — Officers use bodily force to gain control of a situation.
◦ Soft technique. Officers use grabs, holds and joint locks to restrain an individual.
◦ Hard technique. Officers use punches and kicks to restrain an individual.

Less-Lethal Methods — Officers use less-lethal technologies to gain control of a situation
◦ Blunt impact. Officers may use a baton or projectile to immobilize a combative person.
◦ Chemical. Officers may use chemical sprays or projectiles embedded with chemicals to restrain an individual (e.g., pepper spray).
◦ Conducted Energy Devices (CEDs). Officers may use CEDs to immobilize an individual. CEDs discharge a high-voltage, low-amperage jolt of electricity at a distance.

• Lethal Force — Officers use lethal weapons to gain control of a situation. Should only be used if a suspect poses a serious threat to the officer or another individual.
◦ Officers use deadly weapons such as firearms to stop an individual’s actions.

I have said time and time again that the law enforcement officer are trained to justify their action even if their action violate police procedure and training. When we see clearly from video or social media that an officer has violate these policies, there should be a need for accountability.

We also must understand the need to address the constant underlining role racial bias, consciously or unconsciously plays, to shoot or not shoot a subject. This is evident because we don’t hear of unarmed white men being shot with their hands up!


About Damon K. Jones (226 Articles)
Damon K. Jones is an Activist, Author, and Publisher of Black Westchester Magazine, a Black-owned and operated newspaper based in Westchester County, New York. Mr. Jones is a Holistic Health Practitioner, First Aid in Mental Health Practioner, Diet, and Nutrition Advisor, and Vegan, Vegetarian Nutrition Life Coach. Mr. Jones is a 31 year Law Enforcement Practioner, New York Representative of Blacks in Law Enforcement of America. Mr. Jones has been a guest commentator on New York radio stations WBLS (107.5 FM), WLIB (1190 am), WRKS (98.7 FM), WBAI (99.5 FM), and Westchester's WVOX (1460 am). Mr. Jones has appeared on local television broadcasts, including Westchester News 12 “News Makers” and Public Television “Winbrook Pride. You can now hear Damon every Wednesday at 830 AM on WFAS 1230 AM, Morning with Bob Marone Show.
%d bloggers like this: