GA State Rep. Park Cannon Knocks On Governor’s Door, Draws 2 Felonies
While Georgia GOP officials celebrated the signing of a strict new voting law, state Representative Park Cannon found herself being whisked away in handcuffs.
Republican governor Brian Kemp and a group of white state lawmakers were gathered in his private office to seal the conversional new law. As Kemp spoke about the measures on live television, Cannon, a Black woman, arrived outside and began knocking on the door — first on the door to the public lobby of the governor’s office, and then on a door to a private area.
According to police, Cannon was warned before being charged with two felonies and being taken into custody.
“She was advised that she was disturbing what was going on inside and if she did not stop, she would be placed under arrest,” Lt. W. Mark Riley wrote in a statement. Though she said she wanted to see Gov. Brian Kemp sign the new law, he had already affixed his signature before he began to speak.
Cannon was charged with obstruction of law enforcement and disruption of the General Assembly. She was released from jail late Thursday.
Cannon’s lawyer, Gerald Griggs, called the arrests “law enforcement overreach” and believes chances are strong that the district attorney will dismiss the charges after “examining the file.”
Here’s why (via Yahoo! News):
Georgia’s constitution says lawmakers “shall be free from arrest” during meetings of the General Assembly “except for treason, felony, or breach of the peace.”
Griggs questioned whether felony charges, with mandatory prison terms, were merited. A warrant claims Cannon resisted arrest by stomping on an officer’s feet, but Griggs said he’s seen no video supporting that accusation.
Griggs questioned whether the felony charge for disruption of the General Assembly could be applied because first and second offenses are misdemeanors, while only third and later offenses are felonies. Cannon has never been charged or convicted under that law before, Griggs said.
Critics have strongly criticized Georgia’s stringent new voter law, which requires photo identification to vote absentee by mail, shortens how long voters have to request an absentee ballot, and limits both where ballot drop boxes can be placed and when they can be used. It is expected to further disenfranchise millions of Black and Brown voters.