20:48 | 26/03/2021 Print
|Cannon was arrested after she attempted to knock on the door of the Gov. Brian Kemp office during his remarks after signing into law a sweeping Republican-sponsored overhaul of state elections. Photo: AP|
Park Cannon, a Democrat who represents the 58th district in the Georgia House of Representatives.
Cannon joined the Georgia House of Representatives in 2016 when she won a special election to succeed Simone Bell, who is also a Democrat. She identifies as queer, according to a 2016 interview for Elle magazine. She was only 24 at the time of her election.
Cannon was an activist as early as her high school years and, after her graduation from college, went to work for a women’s health clinic. She later worked at non-profit organizations that support the LGBT community, African Americans and low-income residents of her local area.
She told Elle shortly after her election that her heroes included the poet Maya Angelou and pioneering Black politician Shirley Chisholm, who was the first African American woman elected to the U.S. Congress.
Following the death of Rep. John Lewis in 2020, Cannon applied to be on the ballot as the Democratic candidate for Georgia’s 5th congressional district. She was placed in the top five out of 131 applicants but eventually lost out to Nikema Williams, who went on to win the seat.
Georgia state troopers arrested state Rep. Park Cannon on Thursday as she knocked on Gov. Brian Kemp’s door, interrupting his livestreamed announcement that he had signed an elections bill into law, according to AJC.
The officers forcibly removed Cannon, a Democrat from Atlanta, dragging her through the Capitol and pushing her into a police car. She was charged with obstruction of law enforcement and disrupting General Assembly sessions, according to the Georgia State Patrol and released on bond late Thursday.
Earlier this legislative session, Cannon was involved in a separate confrontation with a Capitol police officer.
During a protest over elections bills, Cannon positioned herself in front of an officer’s bullhorn, and then another officer took hold of her arm to move her away. The conflict led to a sit-in by Cannon and fellow Democrats on the stairs of the state Capitol.
Cannon was charged with the two counts taken to the Fulton County Jail after she refused repeated warnings to stop knocking on Kemp’s office door, according to the Georgia State Patrol.
“She was advised that she was disturbing what was going on inside and if she did not stop, she would be placed under arrest,” said GSP spokesman Lt. W. Mark Riley. “Rep. Cannon refused to stop knocking on the door.”
Court documents show she was charged with “knowingly and intentionally” knocking on the governor’s door during a bill signing and stomping on Officer L.T. Langford’s foot three times “during the apprehension and as she was being escorted out of the property.”
“The accused continued kicking on LT Langford with her heels,” according to the arrest warrant.
A law signed by Kemp on Thursday includes new limitations on mail-in voting, expands most voters' access to in-person early voting and caps a months-long battle over voting in a battleground state, NPR reported.
It has been heavily criticized as a bill that would end up disenfranchising Black voters. It's also seen as Republicans' rebuke of the November and January elections in which the state's Black voters led the election of two Democrats to the senate.
Cannon was with several other protesters when she knocked on Kemp’s office door, saying the public should be allowed to witness the announcement of the bill signing. The sweeping legislation requires ID for absentee ballots, limits drop boxes and changes early voting hours.
Tamara Stevens, an activist who was with Cannon, said she wasn’t being disrespectful or causing a disturbance.
“She knew he was signing a bill that would affect all Georgians — why would he hide behind closed doors? This isn’t a monarchy,” Stevens said. “You have a women of color fighting for the rights of Georgians and they arrested her for knocking on the door because she wanted to witness our governor sign the bill.”
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