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Posted under: News Politics

Rep. Park Cannon, Georgia Lawmaker Arrested For Protesting Restrictive Voting Bill, Won't Be Prosecuted

An Atlanta district attorney said the case was closed and would not be heading to a grand jury for indictment.

Update (April 7, 2021): An Atlanta district attorney said she will not pursue charges against Democratic State Rep. Park Cannon who was arrested after knocking on the office door of Gov. Brian Kemp who was signing into law restrictive voting regulations.

Fani Willis released a statement on Wednesday saying that the case was closed and that it would not be heading to a grand jury for indictment, according to WSB-TV.

"After reviewing all of the evidence, I have decided to close this matter. It will not be presented to a grand jury for consideration of indictment, and it is now closed," the statement read.

"While some of Representative Cannon's colleagues and the police officers involved may have found her behavior annoying, such sentiment does not justify a presentment to a grand jury of the allegations in the arrest warrants or any other felony charges," the statement continued. 

Willis added that her office gathered statements from witnesses and Capitol Police to aid in her conclusion. 

The representative's attorney said she should have never been arrested and that "facts and evidence show that Park Cannon committed no crime."

Cannon's attorney, Geral Griggs, said they are now exploring other legal options, although he refrained from specifying their next steps. 

The state of Georgia has come under intense backlash since the governor signed the restrictive voting law. Lawmakers say the legislation is discriminatory and mimics Jim Crow-era laws, as Blavity previously reported.

Kemp doubled down in response, however, saying that the new laws, which include prohibiting volunteers from handing out light refreshments to voters in line, will ensure fair elections in the future. 

Original (March 26, 2021): Georgia State Rep. Park Cannon was arrested for protesting Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp's decision to sign a new voting law that will act as a tool of voter suppression, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  

In a video shared on social media, police were seen arresting Cannon after she knocked on the door to Kemp's office on Thursday night as he and other Republicans huddled to sign the controversial SB 202 into law. 

Cannon, who has been in the Georgia House of Representatives since 2016, was then charged with felony obstruction, according to HuffPost. 

Both U.S. senators from Georgia, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, have criticized the state troopers for arresting Cannon. Warnock even flew back to Georgia last night to visit her in jail. 


Ossoff tweeted about the incident as well.

"I stand with Georgia State Rep. Park Cannon, who was arrested and CHARGED WITH A FELONY for ... for what?" the congressman questioned. "For *knocking on Gov. Kemp’s office door* as she tried to observe the cowardly closed-door signing ceremony for the voter suppression law."


The state rep. was released from jail Thursday night, and spoke about the incident on Twitter. 

"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. 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," she wrote.

"#SB202 restricts many methods of voting. These restrictions serve no purpose other than to keep voters from exercising their constitutional right to vote. Who -- and what -- are they protecting when they work this hard to suppress our vote? In November and January we refused to be controlled at the ballot box. #SB202 is a direct retaliation," she added. 

"The closed-door signing of #SB202 and the senseless murder of #AAPI Georgians are both products of a white supremacist system. Different tactics, same goal: fear and control," she added. 

For weeks, protesters and lawmakers in the state have sounded the alarm about the draconian bill, which includes a variety of measures designed to make voting more difficult, particularly for Black communities, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported

Kemp and other leading Republicans have effectively rewritten the state's election laws after facing significant backlash from former President Donald Trump and other Republicans nationally for not doing more, even illegally, to make sure Trump won in the November election. 

“It is unbelievable that there are still some people trying to stop people from voting today. You are changing the rules, cutting the voting hours, and making it more difficult for people to vote. Too many people fought, bled and died for our right to vote,” state Rep. Erica Thomas told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

It adds byzantine new voter ID rules, restricts the use of ballot drop boxes that helped a record number of Georgians vote in November and January, and gives Republican lawmakers supreme control over local election boards. The law also restricts the days and times for early voting. 

The bill even outlaws groups who provide water and food to voters forced to stand in hours-long lines. Many online noted that Georgia voters often spend hours waiting to vote, longer than any other state due to restrictive Republican policies.

The bill made national news this week with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer speaking about the dangers it presents. 

"Since 2012—the GA GOP has closed more than 200 polling places. Voters in mostly Black precincts now wait 8X LONGER to vote than voters in mostly white precincts. Now the GOP makes it a crime to give water to people standing in long lines THEY CREATED," Schumer said

Warnock said it was clear why Republicans wanted the bill. 

"Instead of adjusting their message, some Georgia politicians have decided to rewrite the rules with SB 202—a thinly-veiled attempt to suppress the vote. It’s Jim Crow in new clothes.We will not go back. And Congress must act to protect the sacred right to vote," Warnock said in a statement on Twitter.

New South Super PAC founder Nsé Ufot told Blavity in a statement that the bill "is a direct attack on our democracy and on Georgians, who deserve to have their votes counted and voices heard."

"After losses in 2020 and 2021, Republicans know that their only hope to win our state is to silence the voices of Georgians of color. That’s why they are launching this vengeful, concerted, racist effort to suppress our votes and our voices," Ufot said.

“As Republicans try to cling to this Big Lie, we must remember one Big Truth: Georgia is now a blue state. Regardless of how hard Georgia Republicans try to cheat their way back into power, it will remain a blue state. We will continue to fight and we will not back down to Republican fear-mongering, lies, and blatant attempts at voter suppression,” she added. 

The New Georgia Project, Black Voters Matter and Rise filed a lawsuit against the bill almost as soon as it was signed. 

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