A Black woman Georgia lawmaker was arrested at the state Capitol as she protested a new law that will restrict early voting, local media reported Thursday.
Video that circulated on social media Thursday showed state troopers holding a masked state Rep. Park Cannon by her arms and taking the lawmaker away. Several people shouted at the troopers to let her go, and at least one person in the video repeatedly asked the troopers as they took the representative away, “What did she do?”
Photos later captured Cannon being put into the back of a Georgia State Capitol patrol car.
A message left Thursday night for the Georgia State Patrol was not immediately returned.
Cannon said on Twitter on Thursday night that she had been released from jail.
People had gathered at the state Capitol in Atlanta on Thursday to protest that the Republican-controlled Georgia legislature had hours earlier passed SB202, which enacts new restrictions on mail-in voting, including an ID requirement; limits drop boxes; and changes the powers of election boards. This follows record voter turnout in Georgia in the 2020 election and a pair of Senate runoff races in early January.
Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, signed the bill into law during an event at his office at the Capitol. Additional video of Cannon shows the lawmaker knocking on the doors of Kemp’s office. Troopers then placed her hands behind her back and detained her.
The voting measure had moved quickly through the legislative chambers with just a few days before lawmakers were set to adjourn. On Thursday, several voting rights groups, including the Black Voters Matter Fund and the New Georgia Project, announced they had filed a lawsuit along with Marc Elias, a prominent voting rights attorney.
Cannon, a lawmaker who was elected in 2016, has been vocal about her opposition to voting restriction proposals moving through the legislature. Last month, she was among a group of Democratic lawmakers who faced potential arrest as they protested against a separate voting bill.
During that confrontation in late February, Cannon reportedly put her head in front of a bullhorn when a state trooper warned the group to disperse or face arrest.
Before she was detained, Cannon tweeted her opposition to the bill by asking readers to call her colleagues as well as the offices of the governor and lieutenant governor to oppose the measure.
Georgia has become the epicenter of a national debate over voting rights that has emerged in statehouses around the country. A previous voting bill that proposed, among other things, reduced weekend voting did not advance.