ATLANTA — A district attorney in Atlanta said Wednesday that she will not pursue charges against a Georgia state lawmaker who was arrested during a protest of the state’s sweeping new election law.
“After reviewing all of the evidence, I have decided to close this matter,” Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said in an emailed statement. “It will not be presented to a grand jury for consideration of indictment, and it is now closed.”
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Rep. Park Cannon, a Democrat from Atlanta, was arrested March 25 after she knocked on the door to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s office while he was on live television speaking about the voting bill he had just signed into law. Cell phone video of state Cannon’s arrest went viral nationwide.
Police charged her with obstruction of law enforcement and disruption of the General Assembly. She was released from jail later that evening.
Cannon’s attorney Gerald Griggs spoke with Channel 2′s Justin Gray shortly after learning about Willis’ decision to close the case.
“I think it was the right decision. 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,” Griggs said.
Cannon will address the media at the State Capitol Thursday morning. Gray reached out to the governor’s office, who declined to comment. Gray also reached out to Georgia State Patrol, who did not respond to his questions.
Here is the full release from Willis’ office:
“The office of the Fulton County District Attorney’s lawful duty is to investigate alleged felonies occurring in Fulton County and to prosecute when appropriate. This office takes seriously its duty to prosecute crimes of violence, particularly when committed against law enforcement officers.
In our investigation of the incidents leading to the arrest of Representative Park Cannon on March 25, 2021, we received full cooperation from multiple citizen witnesses who were willing to provide in person interviews about what they witnessed. We thank them for their assistance. We also received the cooperation of the Capitol Police, who provided statements, video evidence and multiple police reports in an expeditious manner.
After reviewing all of the evidence, I have decided to close this matter. 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.”
Griggs said in a release that Cannon should never had been arrested.
“Facts and evidence show that Park Cannon committed no crime and should never have been arrested. We are weighing our next legal options,” said Cannon’s attorney, Gerald Griggs.
- Rep. Park Cannon speaks out for 1st time since controversial arrest
- Rep. Cannon to return to Capitol Monday despite arrest, lawyer says
- Georgia’s new GOP election law draws criticism, lawsuits
- GSP releases report detailing lawmaker’s arrest; protesters call it ‘all lies’
The Republican-backed rewrite of Georgia’s election rules adds a new photo ID requirement to vote absentee by mail, gives the State Election Board new powers to intervene in county election offices and to remove and replace local election officials, prohibits people from giving water and snacks to people waiting in line, and makes some changes to early voting, among other things.
Willis said her office’s investigation included collecting statements from multiple witnesses and Capitol police.
The new law follows former President Donald Trump’s repeated, baseless claims of voter fraud after he narrowly lost to President Joe Biden in the state that has reliably voted for Republican presidential candidates in recent decades. Compounding the Republican losses, two Democrats beat Republican U.S. Senate incumbents in a runoff election in January that flipped control of the chamber to their party.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report