Queer Black lawmaker arrested for knocking on governor’s door as he signs reviled voting bill
A queer Black lawmaker was arrested after she dared to knock on the governor’s door as he signed a law to restrict voting rights.
Park Cannon, a Georgia state representative, was arrested and forcibly removed from the state’s Capitol building on Thursday (25 March) while Republican governor Brian Kemp signed the bill, which is expected to make voting even more difficult for residents.
In videos shared on social media, Park Cannon can be seen standing outside the governor’s closed door speaking peacefully with a police officer.
When she knocked on the door, the police officer grabbed her arm, while a second police officer swooped in to aid in her arrest.
In shocking video footage shared widely on Twitter, Cannon can be seen being forcibly handcuffed by several police officers and dragged out of government buildings.
“Why are you arresting her?” This Facebook Live video from @TWareStevens shows the moment authorities detained state Rep. Park Cannon as @GovKemp was behind those doors signing elections restrictions into law. #gapol pic.twitter.com/U1xMJ6tZrY
— Greg Bluestein (@bluestein) March 25, 2021
In the video, Georgia resident Tamara Stevens can be heard repeatedly asking police to explain why Cannon was being arrested. They did not respond.
“There is no reason for me to be arrested. I am a legislator!” Cannon can be heard telling police officers as they dragged her from the building.
Cannon repeatedly asked police why they were arresting her and pleaded with them to stop touching her, but the group of police officers persisted.
— Gerald A. Griggs (@AttorneyGriggs) March 25, 2021
“I am not doing anything! I am literally not doing anything,” she told officers.
Queer Black lawmaker Park Cannon faces two felony charges
Cannon is facing two felony charges, according to CNN. She was charged with felony obstruction and preventing or disrupting general assembly session.
According to an arrest affadavit, she was charged with “knowingly and intentionally” interrupting proceedings by knocking on the door “during session of singing [sic] a bill.”
She was accused of making threats of violence against police officers and of stamping on one of the officers’ feet three times while they dragged her from the building.
Senator Raphael Warnock spoke outside Fulton County Jail, where she was taken to following her arrest, telling reporters: “She is understandably a bit shaken by what happened to her. She didn’t deserve this.”
We will not live in fear and we will not be controlled. We have a right to our future and a right to our freedom.
He also questioned what made her actions “so dangerous” that she needed to be arrested.
In a statement seen by CNN, Georgia State Patrol claimed that Cannon “was beating on the door to the governor’s office” and moved to a second door, marked “Governor’s Staff Only”, when she was moved on.
“Rep Cannon refused to stop knocking on the door. Rep Cannon was placed under arrest and escorted out of the Capitol,” the statement said.
Cannon spoke out about the arrest after she was released on Thursday night (26 March) and thanked the public for their support.
“I’m 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,” she wrote on Twitter.
“But someday soon that last person will step out of jail for the last time and breathe a first breath knowing that no one will be jailed again for fighting for the right to vote.”
Hey everyone, thank you for your support. I’ve been released from jail. 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. #SB202
— Representative Park Cannon (@Cannonfor58) March 26, 2021
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She went on to hit out at the governor for signing the bill, saying it will “restrict many methods of voting”.
“These restrictions serve no purpose other than to keep voters from exercising their constitutional right to vote,” she said.
“We will not live in fear and we will not be controlled. 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.”