Newly elected Sen. Raphael Warnock spoke out condemning the mistreatment of Rep. Park Cannon, after she was forcibly arrested on Thursday during a demonstration protesting the restrictive voter measures that were signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp.
Cannon’s arrest was captured on camera where she was handcuffed for knocking on Kemp’s office door in the statehouse while he was singing the bill. Cannon wanted cameras to capture Kemp, marking a dark turn in the fight for voting rights and access, especially in a state like Georgia where Black voters historically face disenfranchisement.
Cannon was charged with two felony offenses, obstruction of law enforcement and disrupting General Assembly session, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
As a member of his flock at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Warnock visited the Fulton County Jail to support Cannon. Alongside Cannon’s lawyer, Gerald Griggs, Warnock addressed a group of reporters who were gathered outside of the jail.
“We’re just going to make sure that her voice is elevated in this moment, because it appears that there was overreach by law enforcement but we will get to the bottom of everything that has happened,” said Griggs.
“We ask the public to make sure that they understand that this is just the beginning of justice for Park Cannon and that we stand with Park.”
“What we have witnessed today is a desperate attempt to lock out and squeeze the people out of their own democracy,” Warnock said.
“The people are being locked down and locked out of their own democracy,” he continued, adding, “This effort to silence the voices of Georgians who stood up in a historic election in November and in January, will not stand.”
“The goal of voter suppression is to so demoralize the electorate that people don’t even bother to try, but that will not happen,” Warnock said.
Many pointed to the ways Cannon was treated as opposed to the violent mob of insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol. As a Black woman, the visuals of her arrest trigger the ways Black women have routinely been manhandled in the arms of law enforcement.
“I saw a state representative knocking on the door of the governor, and she was arrested,” he said.
“Meanwhile, we saw a violent insurrection attack on the United States Capitol, and police officers died in that case.”
“I want to know what makes her actions so dangerous? And the actions of those who were trying to undermine an actual election so benign in the minds of some politicians. It is that big lie that is the fuel for these terrible voter laws coming out of the state of Georgia,” Warnock continued.
“She is understandably a bit shaken by what happened to her. She did not deserve this,” Warnock said. “And we’ll continue to pray for her and to walk with her through this.”
Griggs told reporters that Cannon sustained bruises and maintained they will take their grievances to the district attorney.
Cannon was released late Thursday evening and thanked her supporters for their well-wishes on Twitter. She vowed to continue to fight for what is right.
“I am not the first Georgian to be arrested for fighting voter suppression. I’d love to say I’m the last, but we know that isn’t true,” she tweeted.
253 bills across 43 states have been introduced to restrict voting access after a historic election where Black voters changed the tide of the election in states like Georgia, Pennsylvania and Michigan.