Democratic State Representative Park Cannon was arrested on Thursday for knocking on Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s door; the proceedings happening in Kemp’s office were about new limitations on mail-in voting. The legislation will heavily impact Black voting in the State; as it seems to lean towards expanding access to in-person early voting, Cannon said she was arrested for “fighting voter suppression,” according to NPR news.
The bill has been persistently disputed because it would marginalize voting within the Black community, where their strength was reflected in November and January elections, the State was led by Black voters. Lawmakers have been at odds about the initiative for a number of months.
According to NPR news, Cannon is being charged with obstructing law enforcement by use of “threats or violence” in addition to disrupting a federal meeting and its members. There has been no clarification of what was conversed between the state trooper and Cannon.
The previously noted source stated that there are several videos capturing the arrest; Cannon is heard repeatedly stating that she is a state lawmaker. In the video, she is seeing being pulled away and she continues to identify herself as a Georgia State Lawmaker and requests the reason she is being arrested.
NPR uses a quote from the video, Cannon is recorded stating, “There is no reason for me to be arrested, I am a legislator.” The news and images of her arrest went viral on all social media platforms. NPR reflected on Georgia’s constitution which states, “lawmakers shall be free from arrest during sessions of the General Assembly except for treason, felony or breach of the peace.”
Cannon was booked at a Fulton County local Jail and held for $6,000 bond according to NBC; by 11 p.m. she had been released according to the information by attorney Gerald A. Briggs, who spoke to supporters and media agents outside the jail where Cannon was located. According to the previously mentioned news source, Griggs confirmed that Cannon did receive bruising from the arrest. Another lawmaker, Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia visited Cannon when she was held.
Cannon responded to the incident via Twitter on Friday, showing gratitude towards her supporters and she stated, “I am not the first Georgian to be arrested for fighting voter suppression. I’d love to say I’m the last, but we know that isn’t true.” Attorney Griggs confirmed that the charges against Cannon will be challenged.
According to the Washington Post, Facebook Live captured Cannon knocking on the door of Kemp’s office, as he was holding a news conference about the SB 202 bill. The legislation is designing a set of restrictions on how ballots will be casted and counted in Georgia.
The Georgia governor looks to sign it into law and would reduce the use of drop boxes and enact the use of new ID requirements for mail-in voting. Washington Post captured a statement from Tamara Stevens, an activist who captured an incident Thursday night, “She wasn’t banging on the door, a capitol officer came over and said, ‘Don’t knock on my door,’ and she’s like, ‘Well, are they in there signing the bill?’ and he’s like, ‘Don’t knock on the door.’ And it was at that point that I started filming.’”
The charges were confirmed by the Georgia Department of Public Safety, and according to the Washington Post, Senator Raphael G. Warnock elaborated on the contempt of Cannon’s arrest during a highly controversial bill that affects Black voting. The previously noted source captured a statement from Warnock, “What we have witnessed today is a desperate attempt to lockout and squeeze the people out of their own democracy,” Warnock continued, “We are going to take this fight to give the people their voices back.”
The bill is now signed into law, among other restrictions, handing out food and water to voters standing in line by a third party is now a criminalized act. Washington post unearthed more of the Cannon’s tweets on Friday, Cannon stated via Twitter, “Who — and what — are they protecting when they work this hard to suppress our vote?”
Lawyer Gerald Griggs is looking to challenge the felony offenses against Cannon, Washington Post said he noted on Twitter the previously mentioned Georgia State Constitution that legislators are not to be arrested during sessions of the General Assembly.
According to the law enforcement that detained Cannon, it was shortly after 6:30 p.m. when Cannon is seen “beating on the door” of the governor’s office. The video captures Cannon using normal force to Knock on the door.
Washington Post captured this statement from the police, “This door is marked off with stanchions and a ‘Governor’s Staff Only’ sign, Rep. Cannon went inside the stanchions and began knocking on the door as Kemp was holding a news conference inside.”
“She did not touch anybody! She did not say any slanderous words,” According to Washington Post, Georgia state Rep. Erica Thomas (D) stated in favor of Cannon, “…You’re going to tell me that you arrested a sitting state representative for nothing…”
The SB 202 is coming in a timely manner, as it seems to be the aftermath of the last election; the former president challenged the authenticity of the 2020 voting results in the states that he lost, including in Georgia. Kemp aligned himself with Trump’s allegations of voting, calling them “common sense,” according to the reports by NBC. The law is looking to “tighten up” voting by putting restrictions on in-mail voting along with other micro nuances that will affect the turnout.
The law allows electors to challenge the eligibility of unlimited voters and they are to hold hearings on such inquires. In the next 10 days, it will block the use of mobile voting and prevent local government from accepting specified grants from private practices, according to the Washington Post.
More of Cannons’ words were captured on Twitter, Washington Post quoted her tweet, “On Twitter, Cannon had called the bill ‘Jim Crow in a suit and tie, it selectively removes all of the levers Trump was unable to pull to overturn the will of the people of Georgia.’”