Written by: Leonard Parker | Houston Business News | 21st April
(Bloomberg) -- Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock condemned the arrest of state Representative Park Cannon, who was handcuffed and forcibly removed Thursday from the Georgia State Capitol after she sought entry to the governor’s office as he signed a sweeping overhaul of state election law.
Multiple videos posted online show Georgia State Patrol officers arresting Cannon, a Democrat, after she knocked on the door of Republican Governor Brian Kemp’s office, even as onlookers identified her repeatedly as a lawmaker. Cannon, a Black woman, was taken into custody by several White officers, fueling claims that Black protesters are treated more harshly by law enforcement than White demonstrators.
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“Today is a very sad day for the state of Georgia,” Warnock, who said he’s Park’s pastor, told reporters Thursday night outside the Fulton County Jail, according to video posted by WGCL-TV, an Atlanta-based CBS affiliate. “What we have witnessed today is a desperate attempt to lock out and squeeze the people out of their own democracy.”
The incident could increase pressure President Joe Biden already is facing from his party’s left to wage an all-out defense of voting rights and vocal support of a proposed federal law that would make voting easier across the board. Republican-held statehouses are pursuing restrictions that could fall heaviest on Black voters who helped Democrats win the White House and both chambers of Congress.
Cannon, who opposes the new Georgia law, can be seen in one video continuing to knock on Kemp’s office door after the officers asked her to stop. An officer then puts her under arrest and several officers forcibly move her into an elevator, as supporters protest.
She was charged with one count of obstructing law enforcement officers by use of threats or violence, a felony, and one count of preventing or disrupting a legislative session, according to Fulton County jail records.
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Democrats and voting rights activists have blasted the Georgia bill, which passed on a party-line vote, as an effort to suppress votes following Democrats’ gains in the state in last year’s presidential and U.S. Senate races. Supporters have said the law will as restore “integrity” after unfounded allegations of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
“This effort to silence the voices of Georgians who stood up in an historic election in November and January will not stand,” Warnock said. “The goal of voter suppression is to so demoralize the electorate that people don’t even bother to try. But that will not happen.”
The new law requires identification for mail-in absentee voting for the first time, shortens the time for runoffs from nine weeks to four, cuts the window for requesting mail ballots and restricts the use of ballot drop boxes that eased voting during the Covid-19 pandemic.
On Jan. 5, high turnout among Black voters drove the twin victories of Warnock and fellow Democrat Jon Ossoff, stripping the Senate from Republican hands.
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