Park Cannon, Georgia Representative Arrested in State Capitol, Speaks Out

Democratic Georgia state Representative Park Cannon, who was arrested outside the office of Governor Brian Kemp in Georgia's State Capitol, spoke out against the state's new controversial voting bill following her release and vowed to "continue fighting white supremacy."

The incident took place on Thursday, as Kemp signed Senate Bill 202 into law. The Republican-led legislation was criticized as seeking to suppress Black voters.

The new bill imposes restrictions on absentee ballots, limits early voting, sets up an election fraud hotline, allows the state to take over county election boards, cuts the nine-week runoff election cycle down to four weeks, and even criminalizes handing food and water to people waiting in line to vote.

State Rep. Park Cannon is arrested
Georgia state troopers arrest State Representative Park Cannon on March 25, 2021 after she knocked on the door of Governor Brian Kemp's office at the State Capitol in Atlanta, Georgia. Tamara Stevens/Facebook

In a Facebook Live video of the incident, state troopers arrested Cannon right after she knocked on Kemp's door. Officers were seen placing the state representative in handcuffs and ushering her away.

Upon her release, Cannon tweeted on Friday: "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."

Cannon criticized the bill as serving "no purpose other than to keep voters from exercising their constitutional right to vote." She said the "closed-door signing" of the legislation, in addition to last week's Atlanta area shootings that left six Asian women dead, were "products of a white supremacist system."

"We will not live in fear and we will not be controlled," said Cannon. "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."

Newsweek has contacted Cannon for comment.

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. https://t.co/kKsiPZBuqV

— Representative Park Cannon (@Cannonfor58) March 26, 2021

According to Fulton County jail records, Cannon was charged with "willful obstruction of law enforcement officers by use of threats or violence" and "preventing or disrupting general assembly sessions or other meetings of members."

Arrest warrants shared by Greg Bluestein, political reporter at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, showed Cannon was charged with "knowingly and intentionally" attempting to disrupt the bill's signing by knocking on Kemp's door. The documents also stated Cannon was "stomping" on an officer's foot and "kicking" him "with her heels" during her arrest.

Following the incident, Cannon was met with support by fellow Georgian lawmakers in Washington, D.C.

Appearing alongside Cannon's attorney after visiting her in Fulton County Jail, Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA) said the state representative "didn't deserve this."

"I am Park Cannon's pastor," he said. "I know her, she is a very intelligent woman and a very dignified and committed public servant. And what we have witnessed today is a desperate attempt to lock out and squeeze the people out of their own democracy."

He continued: "I saw a state representative knocking on the door of the governor, and she was arrested. Meanwhile, we saw a violent insurrection [...] on the United States Capitol. And police officers died in that case. And I want to know what makes her actions so dangerous, and the actions of those who were trying to undermine an actual election so benign in the minds of some politicians."

Warnock's Senate colleague Jon Ossoff (D-GA) said he stood with Cannon following her arrest. In her tweets, Cannon praised Warnock and Ossoff.

"I am grateful that my pastor @ReverendWarnock & community held witness and prayed for me, my family & our state," she said. "Electing @ossoff and @ReverendWarnock to the Senate united Georgia in hope and gave us the courage to stand up against the hate we face."

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