Atlanta, GA – The Fulton County prosecutor announced she would not prosecute the Democratic lawmaker who tried to disrupt Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s signing of a controversial new voter law in March.
“After reviewing all of the evidence, I have decided to close this matter,” Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis told WSB in an email. “It will not be presented to a grand jury for consideration of indictment, and it is now closed.”
“While some of Representative Cannon’s colleagues and the police officers involved may have found her behavior annoying, such sentiment does not justify a presentment to a grand jury of the allegations in the arrest warrants or any other felony charges,” Willis added.
Kemp signed Georgia Senate Bill 202 into law on March 25 in a ceremony with press and supporters in attendance, WXIA reported.
Opponents of the legislation have complained that it is an attempt to suppress minority votes.
SB 202 requires an ID number, such as a driver’s license, to apply for an absentee ballot, WXIA reported.
The legislation also so cuts off absentee ballot applications 11 days prior to the election, limits the number of absentee ballot drop boxes, and allows the state to take control of what it calls “underperforming” local election systems.
The law also prohibits volunteers from handing out drinks and snacks to voters waiting to vote, WXIA reported.
Kemp defended the legislation and urged people to “not listen to the rhetoric out there.”
“This bill gives the people more opportunities to vote,” the governor said. “It’s not disenfranchising anyone.”
But one Democratic state lawmaker said that seeing Kemp signing the voter bill while surrounded by white male legislators under a portrait of a historic Georgian slave plantation was too much for her so she took action, NBC News reported.
Video captured the moment that State Representative Park Cannon showed up at the door of the governor’s ceremonial office in the Georgia capitol and began pounding on the door to interrupt Kemp, WXIA reported.
George State Patrol were on duty at the door and intervened.
Officers told Cannon to stop banging on the door because of the press conference happening inside and warned her that if she didn’t stop, she would be arrested for obstruction, WXIA reported.
She continued to pound on the door and so officers took her into custody.
The video showed that Cannon was uncooperative, although she stopped short of forcibly resisting arrest.
She locked her legs and refused to walk, so officers on both sides of her were forced to alternately lift and push the lawmaker along to take her out of the state house, the video showed.
“I am not afraid to admit that I was afraid of what might happen,” Cannon told reporters at a press conference on April 1, according to WXIA.
She was booked into the Union City Jail, an overflow detention facility for the Fulton County Jail.
The Georgia State Patrol said the lawmaker was charged with obstruction of law enforcement and preventing or disrupting General Assembly sessions or other meetings, felony charges that carried a sentence of up to eight years in prison, WXIA reported.
But the district attorney intervened on Cannon’s behalf, ABC News reported.
Gerald Griggs, attorney for the legislator, celebrated Willis’ decision not to take the allegations against Cannon before a grand jury, WSB reported.
“I think it was the right decision,” Griggs said. “We provided facts and evidences, witnesses, and video to the district attorney showing our position in this case. The facts and evidence we believe are with us and we are satisfied with her decision.”
“Facts and evidence show that Park Cannon committed no crime and should never have been arrested. We are weighing our next legal options,” the attorney said.