On Thursday evening, as Gov. Brian Kemp (R-Ga.) signed a landmark election integrity bill into law, police arrested Georgia State Rep. Park Cannon (D-Atlanta), for knocking on Kemp’s office door.
The incident received a great deal of attention on Twitter, and that appears to have been Cannon’s intent. It seems she may have been trying to make a statement about “voter suppression” related to the election integrity bill. By repeatedly knocking on the door, Cannon may have disrupted the bill signing announcement.
After Cannon knocked on the door, Georgia state troopers removed her, dragging her through the Capitol and pushing her into a police car, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Officers charged her with obstruction of law enforcement and disrupting General Assembly sessions, and they released her on bond late Thursday.
Cannon had gathered with other protesters in front of Kemp’s door ahead of the bill signing. She argued that the public should be allowed to witness Kemp’s announcement.
Tamara Stevens, an activist with Cannon, argued that she wasn’t 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.”
Officers took Cannon to 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,” GSP spokesman Lt. W. Mark Riley told the Journal-Constitution. “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,” the arrest warrant alleged.
Stevens captured footage showing Cannon repeatedly knocking on the door after officers told her not to do so, and showing her arrest.
It is tragic to see a representative arrested merely for knocking on a governor’s door, but it also seems like Park Cannon may have planned this as a stunt to draw attention to her and to the claims that the election integrity bill involves voter suppression.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.