State Watch

Georgia state lawmaker after arrest: ‘We will not live in fear’

A Democratic Georgia state lawmaker who was arrested on Thursday after knocking on Gov. Brian Kemp’s (R) door during the signing of a controversial voting bill has been released and said “we will not live in fear.”

State Rep. Park Cannon thanked her supporters and tweeted about her release shortly after midnight on Friday morning. 

“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,” Cannon wrote. “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.”

Police told The Hill that Cannon was taken to the 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.” 

Cannon noted that the contentious bill was signed the week after eight people, including multiple Asian Americans, were killed in a shooting spree targeting massage parlors in the Atlanta area. 

“And make no mistake, when I say hate, I mean white supremacy. 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,” the lawmaker wrote.

“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,” she continued.

Lt. W. Mark Riley, Georgia State Patrol’s public information director, said that Cannon was instructed to stop knocking on the door, which was marked with a “Governor’s Staff Only” sign.

“She was again advised if she did not stop, she would be arrested for obstruction and disturbing the press conference,” he added. “Rep. Cannon refused to stop knocking on the door” and was then “placed under arrest and escorted out of the Capitol.” 

Cannon’s knocks came as Kemp hosted a livestreamed event for the signing of a controversial bill that includes voting restrictions such as limiting the use of ballot drop boxes and setting photo ID requirements for absentee voting.

Cannon, 24, is Georgia’s youngest lawmaker and one of three openly gay lawmakers elected to the state House in 2016, according to CNN.

Her arrest was immediately condemned by Bernice King, daughter of the late civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr., who called it “despicable.”

“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.” 

Others spoke out against her arrest, including Georgia Sen. Jon Ossoff (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.”

The lawmaker is also a parishioner at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Ga., where Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) was a senior pastor. 

Warnock visited Cannon in Fulton County Jail Thursday evening, telling reporters outside that Cannon is “a very dignified and committed public servant.”

Tags Brian Kemp Georgia Jon Ossoff Lawmaker arrest Park Cannon Raphael Warnock Voter suppression

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