Queer Black lawmaker won’t be charged after arrest for knocking on governor’s door

Maggie Baska April 8, 2021
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Park Cannon

Georgia state representative Park Cannon spoke after being arrested for knocking on governor Brian Kemp's door as he signed a controversial new voting law. She condemned the legislation as a "voter suppression bill" and told reporters she was facing eight years in prison for "unfounded charges". (YouTube/NBC News)

Georgia lawmaker Park Cannon has vowed to continue knocking on the “doors of injustice” after it was confirmed she will not be prosecuted for knocking on the governor’s door.

Cannon, an out, Black state representative, was arrested and forcibly removed from Georgia’s state capitol building  for knocking on governor Brian Kemp’s door as he signed a voting bill that has been condemned as racist. She was subsequently charged with obstruction of law enforcement and disrupting the general assembly.

Two weeks after her arrest, Fani Willis, district attorney of Fulton County, Georgia, said the office will not file charges against Cannon, telling the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that she considers the case closed after reviewing the evidence surrounding her arrest on 25 March.

“While some of Rep. Cannon’s colleagues and the police officers involved may have found her behaviour annoying, such sentiment does not justify a presentment to a grand jury of the allegations in the arrest warrants or any other felony charges,” Willis said.

Park Cannon tweeted following the news she would not be prosecuted: “Doors of injustice are everywhere, and we cannot stop knocking.”

Gerald Griggs, an Atlanta attorney who is representing Cannon, welcomed the news.

He said the “facts and evidence showed to the world” that Cannon “committed no crime and should not have been arrested”.

He added: “We thank the district attorney for her thorough review of the evidence and are weighing our next legal actions.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that a Georgia State Patrol lieutenant said memories of the deadly riots at the US Capitol were on his mind when he arrested Park Cannon. In a 13-page report obtained by the news source, the lieutenant said he was worried that other protesters would have been “emboldened” to follow her after she refused his requests to stop knocking on Kemp’s door.

But witnesses interviewed by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution said there was no attempt to “breach” the doorway.

Voting rights groups have condemned the legislation that was signed by governor Kemp, which they say will disproportionately disenfranchise Black voters.

Joe Biden has called the law “Jim Crow in the 21st Century” and “a blatant attack on the Constitution”.

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