ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — State Representative Park Cannon faced up to eight years in prison, before Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis decided not to prosecute her.
“I want to thank God. For it is by His grace that I can stand here today,” said Cannon, who was joined by her attorneys and supporters at Liberty Plaza, across from the State Capitol. “The joy that I feel for the dismissal of the charges I faced is tempered by the fact that I should have never been arrested in the first place,” she said.READ MORE: Fourth Stimulus Check: Is Another Relief Payment Coming Soon?
State police had charged her with two felonies for knocking on Governor Brian Kemp’s door, as he signed Elections Bill HB 202 into law behind closed doors. “I knocked on the door. I was not disruptive. I was persistent,” Cannon said. The law has sparked heated protests and debates between Republicans, who say it streamlines the election process, and Democrats, who call it a thinly-veiled attempt to suppress votes. “With one stroke of a pen, Brian Kemp began to dismantle everything Black people in America have achieved,” said Cannon.
In an email to CW69, the Governor’s office declined to comment on Parks’ arrest or the district attorney’s decision. Instead, the office emailed links to Kemp’s Fox News interviews, blaming Stacey Abrams for leading the charge against the law. He has also previously defended the new voter ID and drop box requirements he and other Republicans say make the elections process more secure and much easier. “Until we have changed the new law, we must understand the new law,” Cannon said.
Cannon’s attorneys said their work is not done. “Representative Cannon should not have been subject to arrest. No one could have made a mistake legitimately that resulted in her arrest,” said David Dreyer, one of her attorneys. “All possible reasonable calls of action are on the table, including illegal use of force illegal arrest and illegal detention,” said Gerald Griggs, who also represents Cannon.
“I ask you, Georgia, to keep knocking. America, keep knocking,” said Cannon.READ MORE: Southeastern U.S.: A Rainy Week Ahead
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis issued this statement:
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.MORE NEWS: Lifeline Animal Project Stresses Urgent Need For Dog Foster Homes In Metro Atlanta
The Georgia Department of Public Safety sent the statement, “While the Georgia Department of Public Safety is aware of the Fulton County District Attorney’s prosecutorial discretion and decision not to pursue charges against Representative Park Cannon, the Department also supports the lawfulness of the arrest and the Trooper’s judgment. In anticipation of a civil lawsuit, the Department cannot offer further comment.”