Park Cannon
Georgia State Rep. Park Cannon, D-Atlanta, walks into the House Chamber of the State Capitol in Atlanta on Monday morning, after being arrested last week. (Ben Gray/AP/Shutterstock)

Prosecutors Drop Charges Against Park Cannon, Georgia Representative Arrested For Protesting State’s New Racist Voter Restriction Laws

Reaction to Georgia’s restrictive and anti-Black voter disenfranchisement policies continues to stir up controversy. Major League Baseball pulled their wildly popular 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta and moved it to Denver to show their disappointment with the decision. Georgia-based companies like Delta and Coca-Cola have also announced their disapproval of the recently passed law, calling the new voting policies “unacceptable.”

But there’s at least one bit of good news to come out of the controversy: according to Kate Brumback of The Associated Press, state prosecutors have decided against charging Georgia lawmaker Park Cannon, who “was arrested after knocking on the door of the governor’s office as he made televised comments in support of the sweeping, controversial new election law he’d just signed.” 

If the case had gone to trial and Cannon was found guilty, she could have faced several years in jail for her actions.

“Cannon, an Atlanta Democrat, was arrested March 25 and charged with obstruction of law enforcement and disruption of the General Assembly,” Brumback reported. “She was released from jail later that evening.”

“While some of Representative Cannon’s colleagues and the police officers involved may have found her behavior annoying, such sentiment does not justify a presentment to a grand jury of the allegations in the arrest warrants or any other felony charges,” Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said in a statement. “After reviewing all of the evidence, I have decided to close this matter. It will not be presented to a grand jury for consideration of indictment, and it is now closed.”

As news of Willis’ statement broke, Cannon’s pleasure with the decision — and her commitment to keep fighting against the new law — was evident when she tweeted “#KeepKnocking.”

In a subsequent tweet, she added, “Doors of injustice are everywhere and we cannot stop knocking.”

Brumback said, “the 98-page Republican-backed rewrite of Georgia’s election rules adds a new photo ID requirement to vote absentee by mail, gives the State Election Board new powers to remove and replace local election officials, prohibits people from giving water and snacks to people waiting in line and makes some changes to early voting, among other things.” 

Cannon’s attorney, Gerald Griggs, told AP, “We are appreciative of the decision of the district attorney after we provided witnesses to her and we plan to speak publicly very soon about our next steps.”

According to Brumback, there are at least four federal lawsuits filed to challenge the new law, ”alleging that it’s unconstitutional and violates the federal Voting Rights Act, which prohibits voting practices that discriminate on the basis of race or color.”

Related: For more recent diversity and inclusion news, click here.

 

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