A district attorney in Atlanta has declined to pursue charges against Democratic Rep. Park Cannon for knocking on Republican Gov. Brian Kemp's office during his signing of the state's controversial voting bill last month.
“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.”
Police charged Rep. Cannon with obstruction of law enforcement and disruption of the General Assembly, and she was released from jail later that evening. At a subsequent press conference, Rep. Cannon said she could have faced up to 8 years in prison.
Rep. Cannon told CNN that her arrest was "terrifying," but said it was "important to be there to witness" the signing – her role as House Democratic caucus secretary means she is responsible to "take minutes and to be present to witness bill signings."
"I was afraid, just like many Americans are when they come into contact with law enforcement, that there would be a need for me to protect myself," she said. "But instead I was able to just continue to think about the world was watching, people could see, and it was still very terrifying."
“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.
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.
The bill comes in the wake of former President Donald Trump's false, repeated claims that there was fraud in the 2020 presidential election after he lost both the state of Georgia and the election to now-President Joe Biden.
There is no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, a statement that was backed up by numerous officials, including Trump's own Attorney General William Barr.
The state flipped blue for Biden for the first time since 1992 in November, before sending two Democrats to represent the state in twin January runoff Senate elections for the first time in decades.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.