A Georgia lawmaker who attempted to gain access to Gov. Brian Kemp’s office as he signed a controversial voting bill into law late last month will not be prosecuted, an Atlanta district attorney said Wednesday.
On March 25, state Rep. Park Cannon was forcibly removed from the Georgia Statehouse after she knocked on Kemp’s office door. She was charged with obstruction of law enforcement and disruption of the General Assembly, both felonies, and faced the possibility of an eight-year prison sentence if convicted.
"After reviewing all of the evidence, I have decided to close this matter," Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said in a statement to the Associated Press. "It will not be presented to a grand jury for consideration of indictment, and it is now closed."
Cannon’s arrest sparked outrage among Democrats as well as calls to have the charges dropped.
“While some of Rep. 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,” Willis said.
Last week, Cannon, a Democrat, spoke out about her arrest, recalling the “painful” experience.
“I felt as if time was moving in slow motion,” she said last Thursday, surrounded by supporters and fellow Democratic lawmakers at the base of a mural of civil rights icon John Lewis in Atlanta.
“My experience was painful, both physically and emotionally, but today I stand before you to say as horrible as that experience was ... I believe the governor signing into law the most comprehensive voter suppression bill in the country is a far more serious crime,” she added.
The Election Integrity Act of 2021, or Senate Bill 202, imposes new voter ID requirements for absentee ballots, limits the number of drop boxes across the state and gives state-level officials the power to shape county election boards, possibly allowing GOP officials to decide the ballot count in Democratic strongholds. Cannon said Kemp erased decades of sacrifice with its signing.
While Republicans say the law increases voter integrity, Democrats argue there was nothing wrong to begin with, noting the lack of voter fraud in the last election cycle and the dozens of failed lawsuits that attempted to overturn elections that Democrats won. A record 5 million Georgians voted last year.
Several Fortune 500 companies based in Georgia, including Delta, Coca-Cola and UPS, have also spoken out against the law.
“UPS believes that voting laws and legislation should make it easier, not harder, for Americans to exercise their right to vote,” Kara Gerhardt Ross, a UPS spokesperson, told Yahoo News.
The day after speaking out for the first time, Cannon tweeted out a drawing of her arrest with a quote attached that read in part, “We will come together and continue fighting white supremacy in all its forms.”
In the caption of the tweet she wrote, “Keep knocking.”
Cover thumbnail photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP, Ben Gray/AP Photo
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