Georgia state Senator Nikema Williams (D) was arrested for demanding that every vote count during a demonstration in the state capitol rotunda.
Williams, a first-term Atlanta senator, was standing with her constituents when officers led her out of the Capitol rotunda and placed plastic restraints on her wrists, the Atlanta Georgia Constitution reported.
“I was not yelling. I was not chanting,” she said. “I stood peacefully next to my constituents because they wanted their voices to be heard, and now I’m being arrested.”
Williams said she was handcuffed after she “refused to disperse” from the rotunda.
The Democratic Senator and other protesters were taken to the Fulton County jail, where lawmakers gathered demanding that all 15 people be released without charges.
State Rep. Park Cannon, D-Atlanta, called the arrests a “travesty.”
“It’s funny because one in 18 Georgians is under correctional control in the state of Georgia,” she said. “We see this as indicative of the wrong trends in Georgia as it relates to fair elections and people being able to feel safe in their communities.”
Williams’ Senate colleagues condemned the lawmaker’s detention.
“When a sitting senator, who is the vice chair of the state Democratic Party, is thrown into a paddy wagon at the state capitol it is a stark reminder that our right to freely assemble is at risk,” said state Sen. Nan Orrock, D-Atlanta.
From the report:
“Williams is the first vice chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia. Party Chairman DuBose Porter said Williams was arrested “for doing her job where she works.”
“Today, (Williams) was arrested at the Georgia State Capitol while standing up for her constituents’ right to peaceful protest and advocating to count every Georgian’s vote,” Porter said. “We stand with her and with all Georgians whose Constitutional rights are at risk. “
Georgia includes a provision requiring that legislators “shall be free from arrest during sessions of the General Assembly” except for treason, felony or breach of the peace.”