Following her wrongful arrest at the Georgia State Capitol after Gov. Brian Kemp signed the controversial voting legislation, Georgia Representative Park Cannon made a public statement during a press conference yesterday morning. This was her first time publicly addressing the incident involving her arrest by Georgia State Patrol.
The Democratic state representative was originally arrested a week ago after knocking on Gov. Kemp’s door during a private signing of Senate Bill 202, which is believed to be setting voters’ rights back and a form of voter suppression in the Black community. The 95-page bill allows the state to take control of “underperforming” local election system,” cuts off absentee ballot applications 11 days before an election. limits the number of absentee ballot drop boxes, and strips volunteers from their abilities to distribute food and water to voters waiting in line to vote.
Kemp has continued to defend his choices in signing the bill, saying it “gives more people the opportunity to vote” and it’s “not disenfranchising anyone.”
During yesterday’s 9 AM press conference, according to 11Alive, she recounted her arrest as well as her plans to continue the fight against voter suppression, which Rep. Cannon says is “still alive.”
“One week ago today, a tragic event occurred that is forever etched in my mind. In an effort to be present at the signing of legislation affecting all Georgia voters, the Capitol Police arrested me,” the 29-year-old queer-identifying House rep said surrounded by supporters and attorneys as she spoke into a bundle of microphones. After she was arrested, she was booked to Union City Jail, where she was charged with two felonies: obstruction of law enforcement and preventing or disrupting General Assembly sessions or other meetings.
“At that moment, I had no clue what was happening and I am not ashamed to admit that I was afraid of what might happen.”
Rep. Cannon told the press while what she experienced was both physically and emotionally “painful,” and fearful that she is “facing 8 years in prison on unfound charges,” she acknowledges that the true focus is on SB202.
“A law with such nefarious qualities that several of Georgia’s Fortune 500 companies have begun knocking on the door, too. When I see the photo of Kemp in his office perched at his desk, strategically positioned under a disgraceful painting of a South Georgia plantation, flanked by a group of six white legislators, all-male,” Rep. Cannon said, “in one stroke of the pen, I am reminded how important it is to stay focused on the issue.”
Rep. Cannon, who works at the statehouse as a lawmaker, was handcuffed by officers after repeatedly knocking on the door during Gov. Kemp’s private signing. She was then forcibly removed from the state Capitol while being surrounded by other officers and was placed into a police car – all while continuing to identify herself as a legislator.