While the midterm election voting period has closed, the results are still far from decided in many areas. Florida is officially recounting their ballots as several boxes of votes have been discovered throughout the state. In Georgia, many constituents are also protesting and demanding that officials ensure every vote is counted.
Upon arriving to a special Senate session on November 13, newly elected Senator Nikema Williams witnessed several protesters surrounding the rotunda area. As a senator who is passionate about her constituents, she decided to join them.
According to the Georgia Department of Public Safety, state laws prohibit protesters from disrupting legislative sessions or other meetings between lawmakers. Capitol Police were attempting to disperse the crowd of protesters, and many of the individuals were refusing to cooperate. After asking the crowd to leave three times, police began initiating arrests. Police confirmed that 15 individuals, including Senator Williams, were arrested on scene.
Senator Nikema Williams later spoke with media outlets about her controversial arrest. The Senator, along with the other 14 protesters, were all charged with both obstruction of justice and preventing a general assembly. Senator Williams told reporters, “I was singled out as a black female senator.” She told reporters that she never expected to be arrested, and she did not expect to have to pay over $3,000 to bond out of jail. She noted her dissatisfaction with being processed and strip searched at the Fulton County Jail.
The Georgia Department of Public Safety was asked to comment on the Senator’s statements suggesting she was targeted because of her race and gender. The department responded by explaining, “she was arrested for violating Georgia law.”