State lawmaker, state police clash during voting bill protest

A protest over a bill that includes significant changes to Georgia's election laws resulted in a confrontation between a state lawmaker and state police Friday.

A small group of people was holding a demonstration about House Bill 531, an omnibus bill that would shorten began chanting inside the building and state troopers asked them to leave.

When an officer tried to disperse the crowd using a bullhorn, State Rep. Park Cannon, D-Atlanta, stepped in front of the megaphone.

"Ma'am, step aside," ordered another trooper, before touching Cannon's arm. "Go. Go. Step aside, ma'am.

"Don't touch me," Rep. Cannon said.

That prompted the protestors to exit the building while lawmakers and troopers tried to sort out what had happened.

Rep. Cannon said she and the protestors were not in violation of the law because the House was not in session at the time of the incident, but the Senate was still meeting.

"We have been peaceful," Rep. Cannon shouted. "We have raised our voices. We have brought our signs. We have not touched anyone."

The Atlanta Democrat then sat down on the Capitol steps and said she would not move until she got an apology from the trooper who made contact with her.

"I'm not apologizing to you," he said.

The Georgia State Patrol issued a statement about the incident, stating:

"On February 26, 2021, several individuals inside the state Capitol began shouting and causing a disturbance in violation of O.C.G.A. 16-11-34.1. As Troopers were attempting to read a dispersal order, Representative Cannon stepped in front of the megaphone and placed her head against it causing feedback. After Representative Cannon impeded the dispersal order, she was told to step to the side. After actions that could be construed as Obstruction of Law Enforcement O.C.G.A. 16-10-24, Representative Cannon was moved to the side so that the dispersal order could be completed. The individuals causing the original disturbance left the Capitol without incident. No arrests were made and no charges have been filed."

Rep. Cannon and several other Democratic House members stayed on the Capitol steps for about two hours before leaving for the day.

WATCH: FOX 5 Atlanta live news coverage


Sign up for FOX 5 email alerts

Download the FOX 5 Atlanta app for breaking news and weather alerts.