A Georgia representative was arrested and dragged off the state capital grounds while protesting the signing of a major Republican-sponsored overhaul of the state elections.
Rep Park Cannon was arrested Thursday after knocking on Republican Governor Brian Kemp’s door to protest the signing of the voting reform law.
The video of the incident shows Ms. Cannon, who is black and with her arms cuffed behind her back, while being taken away by the police. She repeatedly identifies herself as a lawmaker and asks why she is being arrested. The footage of her arrest shows other people asking why she is being detained without an answer.
Ms. Cannon has been charged with obstructing law enforcement, sentenced to one to five years in prison, and interrupted a session of the General Assembly.
Democrats and constituencies have condemned the passage of the bill, saying the bill disproportionately disenfranchises color voters.
Mr. Kemp signed the voting reform bill less than two hours after the Georgia General Assembly approved Thursday.
The legislation is part of a wave of GOP-backed electoral laws introduced in states across the country after former President Donald Trump fueled false fraud claims regarding the 2020 elections.
After the November election, Mr Trump refused to accept his loss in Georgia, a long-time Republican stronghold, with around 12,000 votes.
The former president campaigned to overturn the result by undermining trust in the state’s electoral system and falsely suggesting that the ballot had been tampered with.
“The Georgians were record breaking because they had access to the ballot,” said Democratic MP Rhonda Burnough.
“Lies upon lies were told in response to our elections, and now we have this bill built on the same lies.”
Rep Cannon was released late Thursday night, NAACP attorney Gerald Griggs confirmed to reporters. He said she was bruised during her arrest, The Hill reported.
“We had an African American who campaigned for the votes of millions of Georgia voters,” Griggs said, according to the outlet.
He says he intends to absolve Ms. Cannon from all charges.
CNN reported that the Georgia State Patrol alleged that Ms. Cannon “banged on the door of the governor’s office” at around 6:30 pm.
“Rep Cannon kept knocking on the door and was instructed again not to knock on the door,” Lieutenant W. Mark Riley, the Georgia State Patrol director of information, told The Hill.
“She was advised to interfere with what was going on inside and if she didn’t stop she would be arrested.”
Tamara Stevens, who posted some of the footage of the arrest online, told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that Rep Cannon was not causing any disturbance
“She knew he was signing a bill that would affect all Georgians – why should he hide behind closed doors? This is not a monarchy, ”said Ms. Stevens.
“You have a woman of color who is fighting for the rights of Georgians and she was arrested for knocking on the door to see our governor sign the bill.”
The controversial bill includes extensive voting restrictions such as restricting the use of ballot boxes, reducing the time it takes people to apply for a postal vote, and laying down requirements for photo ID for postal voting.
Additional coverage by the Associated Press