News (USA)

Police arrest out Black lawmaker for knocking on governor’s door

Georgia Rep. Park Cannon (D) was arrested after knocking on the governor's door
Georgia Rep. Park Cannon (D) was arrested after knocking on the governor's door Photo: Screenshot/Twitter

Out Georgia Rep. Park Cannon (D) has been arrested for knocking on the governor’s door as he was signing legislation to roll back voting rights in the state and is now facing two charges, including one felony charge.

Video that has been shared online shows Cannon, who is Black, talking to a white Georgia State Patrol trooper in front of the door of Gov. Brian Kemp (R) as he signed a bill that increases voter ID requirements for absentee ballots, allows state officials to take over local elections, limits the use of ballot drop boxes, and even makes it a crime to give water to people standing in line to vote.

Related: Restoring the Voting Rights Act honors John Lewis

An officer blocks Cannon and she starts knocking on the door. He grabs her hand and arrests her, pulling her out of the building in handcuffs. Other people try to ask why the troopers are arresting her and witnesses said that the troopers were repeatedly told that she is a legislator.

“There is no reason for me to be arrested. I am a legislator!” Park says in the video.

She was taken to a local jail and processed and was released at 11 p.m. Her attorney and Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) spoke to reporters outside of the jail when she was released.

“She is understandably a bit shaken by what happened to her. She didn’t deserve this,” Warnock said.

She is facing a felony charge of obstructing law enforcement officers by use of threats or violence and a second charge of disrupting general assembly sessions or other meetings of members. Her lawyer said that they are trying to gather information since there were several witnesses and a few people recorded the arrest.

The arrest affidavit claims that she stomped the white officer’s foot three times and kicked him while she was being arrested. None of that is shown in multiple videos of the incident.

The Georgia constitution says lawmakers “shall be free from arrest during sessions of the General Assembly” except for treason, felony, and breach of the peace.

On Twitter, Cannon said that she’s not going to give up on voting rights in Georgia.

“We will not live in fear and we will not be controlled,” she wrote. “We have a right to our future and a right to our freedom. We will come together and continue fighting white supremacy in all its forms.”

In her tweet, she shared a picture that has gone viral as well: Gov. Kemp, who is white, surrounded by white men signing the bill to restrict voting rights in Georgia.

Cannon first took office in 2016 and has pushed back against Christian conservative policy in the years she has been in office, supporting the state’s hate crimes legislation, opposing a religious exemptions bill that Democrats said would lead to LGBTQ discrimination, and opposing restrictions on abortion rights.

“There’s so much work to be done,” she told LGBTQ Nation last year.

Cannon was one of three out lawmakers when she was elected and she said that her identity as a Black, queer Southern woman pushes her to fight for justice.

“As a Black queer person from the South who is enamored with multiple languages and cultures and opportunities for justice,” she said, “it sometimes comes out differently the way I call for justice than some other members who are predominantly in the forefront in LGBTQ space.”

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