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'I should have never been arrested in the first place' | Georgia lawmaker speaks on dropped charges after her arrest during voting bill protest

She was arrested March 25 after she knocked on the door to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s office just before signing the bill into law.

ATLANTA — A local lawmaker who was arrested during a protest spoke out about the Fulton County district attorney's decision to dismiss the charges Thursday around 10 a.m. at the Georgia State Capitol on Washington Street.

Rep. Park Cannon, a Democrat from Atlanta, was taken into custody on 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.

The Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said she will not pursue charges against Cannon who was arrested during a protest of the state’s controversial new election law.

"Today I have come to tell the world, it is time to lean in," said Rep. Park Cannon. "The joy that I feel for the dismissal of the charges that I have faced is tempered by the fact that I should have never been arrested in the first place."  

Cannon also said that when she knocked on Gov. Kemp's door, she was not being disruptive, she was being persistent. 

"I realized it was time to protect the rights of all voters, so I knocked," she said. "And I will keep knocking." 

During the press conference, Cannon also addressed the voting bill Gov. Kemp signed into law.  

"Until we can change the new law, we must understand the new law," she said. 

Cannon was joined at the press conference by Gerald A Griggs, who serves as her attorney.

Willis said Wednesday that she won't present the matter to a grand jury for indictment. Willis said that while some people may have found Cannon's behavior “annoying,” it does not justify the charges against her.

In a statement to 11Alive, her attorney, Gerald A. Griggs said this: 

"Facts and evidence showed to the world that Rep. Cannon committed no crime and should not have ever been arrested. We thank the district attorney for her thorough review of the evidence and are weighing our next legal actions."

Thursday evening, the Georgia Department of Public Safety said they were aware of the district attorney's decision.

"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," the statement said.