As a retired member of the Florida State House of Representatives, I am appalled and disgusted with the recent passage of the Georgia state law restricting voting. This coupled with the vile and abusive mistreatment by the Georgia Capitol Police (GCP) of Georgia State House Representative Park Cannon.
This legislation is a solution in search of a problem. There are a number of bad provisions in the bill, but the worst for me is making it a crime for giving food and water to voters waiting in line to exercise their constitutional right to cast a ballot. This is not just crazy; it’s asinine.
So, if a person is standing in line for four to six hours and is becoming dehydrated or has diabetes and their sugar level becomes low, they cannot accept food? Do they have to be in a medical emergency for help?
The bill allows poll workers to give out food, but where is that line item in the budget for the elections supervisor? And what happens when they want to give food and water to only one group of voters?
I watched in horror and disbelief as Representative Cannon was placed into custody, handcuffed and whisked away to face serious felony charges for simply knocking on the governor’s door.
Compare and contrast this to the United States Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6.
Insurrectionists stormed the Capitol building to redecorate the place with human feces and graffiti. They killed a Capitol police officer who was there to protect the members.
Some of the police can be seen taking selfies with the trespassing rioters. Other Capitol Police politely asked for people to leave the U. S. House and Senate floors. They weren’t arrested like Representative Cannon.
Making an example
I know first-hand how differently Black people are treated when it comes to enforcing the law. Law enforcement is very eager and quick to criminalize Black elected officials to make an example out of Black people.
The governor has legislative staff to assist the members of the Georgia Legislature with issues and meetings with the governor’s office. They should have been notified by the Georgia Capitol Police and asked to come out and assist Representative Parks with her questions and concerns.
But no. The GCP officer became confrontational and hostile towards the member and exert his aggressive authority over her. This should have never happened. My thoughts and prayers are extended to her and the disenfranchised people of Georgia.
Dwayne L. Taylor, a former paramedic, served as a Daytona Beach city commissioner from 2003 to 2008. He also was an elected member of the Florida State House of Representatives from 2008 to 2016.