ATLANTA, GA — As Georgia’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp held a private livestream event on Thursday to sign new voting measures, Rep. Park Cannon (D-GA) bypassed a barrier to approach the closed doors of his Ceremonial Office.
The congresswoman then continually knocked on one of the doors to disrupt the governor’s event despite state troopers requesting she stop and move away.
Prior to knocking on the doors of Kemp’s Ceremonial Office, Cannon had first been “beating on the door to the Governor’s Office, room 203,” according to a statement released by the Georgia State Patrol late Thursday evening.
“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
Cannon and other activists were at the state Capitol building protesting a recently passed voting bill, which some have claimed will make it harder for communities of color to cast their ballots.
The bill, which Kemp signed, adds a photo ID requirement for absentee mail voting, limits ballot drop boxes and cuts back the time people have to request absentee ballots.
It also makes it a misdemeanor to offer free food and water to voters within “150 feet of the outer edge of any building within which a polling place is established, within any polling place, or within 25 feet of any voter standing in line to vote at any polling place.”
After further knocking, Cannon was subsequently arrested for refusing to comply with the troopers’ order to move away from the closed doors.
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In one video clip posted to social media, Cannon can be seen approaching the closed doors to Kemp’s office at the Georgia State Capitol. As Cannon knocked continually on the doors, two troopers approach her and tell her to move away from the doors.
Gov. Brian Kemp has signed Georgia’s omnibus voting bill into law.
— stephen fowler (@stphnfwlr) March 25, 2021
Cannon is seen moving back, but then proceeds forward again to continue knocking on the doors. Police then take her by the arms and place her into custody and move her away.
Cannon identifies herself as a lawmaker as she is being escorted through the state Capitol building:
“Why am I under arrest? There is no reason for me to be arrested. I am a legislator!
“Do not touch me. Why are there three officers touching me? I am not doing anything. I am literally not doing anything.”
— stephen fowler (@stphnfwlr) March 25, 2021
Other activists who were filming the scene appeared shocked that Cannon was arrested. One woman is heard demanding the troopers to explain themselves:
“She is not under arrest! Why is she under arrest?
“What did she do? Can you cite the code?”
I stand with Georgia State Rep. Park Cannon (@Cannonfor58), who was arrested and CHARGED WITH A FELONY for … for what?
For *knocking on Gov. Kemp’s office door* as she tried to observe the cowardly closed-door signing ceremony for the voter suppression law. pic.twitter.com/hpp6ZQxo2r
— Jon Ossoff (@ossoff) March 26, 2021
The Georgia State Patrol confirmed Cannon’s arrest in a statement Thursday evening:
“On March 25, 2021, at 6:33 p.m., Representative Park Cannon was beating on the door to the Governor’s Office, room 203. She was instructed that no one was in the front office and to stop beating on the door.
“Rep. Cannon moved and went to the Governor’s Ceremonial Office door. 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.
Maybe she broke the law? 🤷♂️🤦🏻♂️🤔
— Glenn Gardner (@GlennGardner8) March 26, 2021
“Rep. Cannon was instructed to stop knocking on the door and that Governor Kemp was having a press conference inside. Rep. Cannon continued to knock on the door and was instructed again to stop knocking on the door.
“She was advised that she was disturbing what was going on inside and if she did not stop, she would be placed under arrest. Rep. Cannon stepped back for a moment and then stepped back up to the door and started knocking on the door again.
This isn’t the first time Rep. Cannon has clashed with state police inside the Capitol over voting protests. She’s not exactly a shy unknown figure.https://t.co/CjJOnsqkVS
— stephen fowler (@stphnfwlr) March 26, 2021
“She was again advised if she did not stop, she would be arrested for obstruction and disturbing the press conference. Rep. Cannon refused to stop knocking on the door.
“Rep. Cannon was placed under arrest and escorted out of the Capitol. Rep. Cannon was transported to the Fulton County Jail and released into the custody of jail staff.
“She was charged with 16-10-24 Obstruction of Law Enforcement and 16-11-34.1 Preventing or disrupting General Assembly sessions or other meetings of members.”
On Friday, Cannon tweeted:
“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
In response to the 2020 election and accusations of voter fraud, lawmakers in at least 43 states have proposed new voting measures to solidify election integrity. Last month, Georgia Republican Rep. Barry Fleming said the bill could help convince people to have “confidence overall in our election system.”
The Brennan Center for Justice claimed that new voting measures being pursued in many states, such as limiting mail-in voting, stricter voter ID requirements, purging voter rolls and more, will restrict voting access.
LIVE: Senator Warnock addresses arrest of Rep. Cannon in Ga. Capitol https://t.co/62Ar1bO8iy
— CBS46 (@cbs46) March 26, 2021
President Biden indirectly called out Georgia in his first press conference, alluding to its voting bills and calling voting restrictions “sick” and “un-American.”
Georgia’s Republicans supported the state’s new election requirements, such as voters needing to include either a driver’s license or state ID number on an absentee ballot application or providing a photocopy of an approved ID.
However, Democrats and some voting rights groups claimed the new rules are meant to suppress voters, particularly those of color.
Georgia unexpectedly went blue in races that helped Democrats take control of the White House and Senate.
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