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Georgia state lawmaker Park Cannon says she was ‘afraid’ during arrest protesting voting bill

Georgia state Rep. Park Cannon on Thursday night recounted her arrest last week protesting Georgia’s controversial election overhaul bill as “terrifying” and said she was “afraid” in the moment, but that she felt it was important to try and witness the bill’s signing for transparency reasons.

“I was afraid, just like many Americans are when they come into contact with law enforcement, that there would be a need for me to protect myself. But instead I was able to just continue to think about the world was watching, people could see, and it was still very terrifying,” Cannon told CNN’s Don Lemon, alongside her attorney.

The Democratic lawmaker was arrested and removed from the Georgia Capitol last Thursday after she repeatedly knocked on the door to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s office during his signing of the elections bill, SB 202. Republicans rushed the bill through both chambers of the legislature within a few hours before Kemp signed it into law that night.

Asked about the video of her arrest, Cannon told CNN, “It makes me wonder, why? Why were they arresting me? Why were they doing this? Why did the world have to experience another traumatic arrest?”

Cannon told CNN that during her arrest she was “hopeful that people would see that I was being nonviolent.”

Cannon said as the House Democratic caucus secretary, “it has always been my job to take minutes and to be present to witness bill signings.”

“When we learned late in the hour, all of a sudden that this bill, SB 202, was being passed, it was important to be there to witness it and to get the information out, just like I always would,” she said.

Cannon faces two felony charges: felony obstruction and preventing or disrupting general assembly session, according to an arrest affidavit viewed by CNN.

Cannon’s attorney, Gerald Griggs, told CNN that Cannon’s arrest was unlawful under the Georgia State Constitution. He said they “plan to litigate to the fullest extent of the law,” but hopes the district attorney will review the evidence and dismiss the case.

The affidavit states that Cannon was charged with disrupting General Assembly session because she “knowingly and intentionally did by knocking the governor’s door during session of singing [sic] a bill.”

The arrest affidavit for the felony obstruction charge says Cannon “did knowingly and willfully hinder Officer E. Dorval and Officer G. Sanchez of the Capitol PD, a law enforcement officer in the lawful discharge or the officer’s official duties by Use of Threats of Violence, violence to the person of said officer by stomping on LT Langford foot three times during the apprehension and as she was being escorted out of the property. The accused continued on kicking LT Langford with her heels.”

Asked about the claims in the affidavit, Griggs told CNN that “the facts and the evidence, as we know them, are inconsistent with what the allegations are in that report.”

Cannon also appeared in the CNN interview with her arm in a sling and explained that the injury was sustained during her arrest but that she did not yet have a full diagnosis.

“We are also in the process of getting her medical treatment, and the doctor will determine the extent of her injuries,” Griggs said. “But what we can say is that the facts and the evidence, from witnesses and video will show she did nothing felonious in this incident.”

Article Topic Follows: National Politics

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