Georgia Senate to look into arrest of lawmaker during Capitol protest


Holding back tears, Nikema Williams stood in the well of the Georgia Senate a day after being arrested during a protest under the Gold Dome.

“When I woke up yesterday morning and got my 3-year-old son ready for daycare and took him and dropped him off, it was not my intent for him to hear ‘Senator Nikema Williams was just arrested’ on the radio and tell the babysitter, ‘That’s not Nikema, that’s mommy,’” she said.

The first-term Atlanta Democrat is charged with obstruction and disrupting the General Assembly, according to Fulton County jail records. 

She and 14 others were arrested during a protest at the Capitol on Tuesday, the first of a five-day special session called by Gov. Nathan Deal. Williams spent about five hours in custody before being released on a signature bond.

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.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle on Thursday asked Williams to work with Senate Public Safety Committee Chairman John Albers, R-Roswell, and Capitol police to reach a resolution.

“I ask that (Albers) work with not just (Williams), but also law enforcement and look at the facts surrounding this issue and bring some resolve to the matter at hand,” Cagle said.

local Black Lives Matter group organized the “Count Every Vote” event to pressure state officials to ensure all absentee and provisional ballots are tallied in the governor’s race. Republican Brian Kemp has declared victory. His opponent, Democrat Stacey Abrams, is contesting the issue in court.

The other 14 protesters are charged with disrupting the General Assembly, police said.  

Williams said she also planned to meet with Deal to discuss her arrest.

“This should not have happened to me yesterday,” she said. “It should not happen to anyone else. And I would hope that you stand with me because yesterday it was me, but tomorrow it could be one of you.”

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