Bernice King calls Georgia lawmaker's arrest over protesting voting bill 'despicable'

Bernice King calls Georgia lawmaker's arrest over protesting voting bill 'despicable'
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Bernice King, daughter of the late civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr., condemned the arrest of a Georgia state lawmaker after she protested Gov. Brian KempBrian KempKemp signs bill repealing citizen's arrest law after Ahmaud Arbery shooting Stacey Abrams says she 'absolutely' hopes to be president one day Georgia governor signs bill barring large cuts in police budgets MORE’s (R) signing of a sweeping voting bill Thursday, calling the move by police “despicable.” 

King during an appearance on CNN Thursday evening responded to social media footage showing Georgia state Rep. Park Cannon (D) put into handcuffs and escorted away from the governor’s office. 

According to police, Cannon repeatedly knocked on Kemp’s office door as he hosted a livestreamed event for the bill's signing. Law enforcement stated that they asked Cannon to stop knocking, but she continued. 


The controversial bill includes voting restrictions such as limiting the use of ballot drop boxes and setting photo ID requirements for absentee voting. It also makes distributing water or food to voters in line at the polls illegal. 

In response to the arrest, CNN’s Don LemonDon Carlton LemonOfficer who responded to Capitol mob urges leaders to recognize 'courage' of law enforcement CNN's Jake Tapper questions giving some GOP leaders airtime CNN's Don Lemon blows up over Santorum remarks MORE asked King to comment on “the idea that a Black Georgia state representative is being arrested and pulled away while the governor signs what critics call ‘Jim Crow 2.0.’ ”

“To me, it’s despicable,” King said. “It’s obviously reminiscent of everything that my father, John LewisJohn LewisThis week: Congressional leaders to meet with Biden amid GOP reckoning Democrats hit crucial stretch as filibuster fight looms Advocates sound alarm as restrictive voting laws pile up MORE, C.T. Vivian, Amelia Boynton and so many others sacrificed their lives for.”

"That we would not have to continue to use these kinds of efforts to stop injustice and, frankly, inhumanity.” 

“I applaud her bravery and her courage, because we’re in those times now,” King said of Cannon. “Not in a violent way, but in a nonviolent way, we are going to have to be willing to be courageous and continue to let our voices be heard and strategize and mobilize, and sometimes, we’ve got to sacrifice where it hurts.” 


The late Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Martin Luther King Jr. were two of the most prominent civil rights activists who endured beatings and violence protesting for voting rights in the 1960s.

Lewis was bludgeoned by Alabama state troopers after he walked with the King family and others across the Edmund Pettus Bridge as a form of nonviolent protest for equal rights in March of 1965. 

Martin Luther King was fatally shot in April of 1968 in Memphis, Tenn. 

Thursday’s bill has been widely condemned by Democrats who claim the legislation was largely fueled by recent Republican electoral losses in 2020 and early 2021. 

Police told The Hill Thursday that Cannon was taken to Fulton County Jail, where she was charged with obstruction of law enforcement, as well as “preventing or disrupting General Assembly sessions or other meetings of members.” 

Others have since spoken out against her arrest, including Georgia Sen. Jon OssoffJon OssoffThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden launches blitz for jobs plan with 'thank you, Georgia' Biden marks 100th day plugging jobs plan in Georgia Georgia Republican secretary of state hits Loeffler as 'weak,' 'fake Trumper' MORE (D), who tweeted, “I stand with Georgia State Rep. Park Cannon,” adding that she was arrested “as she tried to observe the cowardly closed-door signing ceremony for the voter suppression law.”

Sen. Raphael WarnockRaphael WarnockDemocrats cool on Crist's latest bid for Florida governor Alabama museum unveils restored Greyhound bus for Freedom Rides' 60th anniversary The Hill's Morning Report - Biden launches blitz for jobs plan with 'thank you, Georgia' MORE (D-Ga.) also visited Cannon in Fulton County Jail Thursday evening, telling reporters outside that Cannon is “a very dignified and committed public servant.”