Georgia state Sen. Nikema Williams says was discriminated against after she was arrested at the Georgia State Capitol while participating in a gubernatorial ballot count demonstration on Tuesday.
“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 in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The Georgia state assembly will now look into the lawmakers claim. Williams was one of 15 people arrested during Tuesday’s demonstration. Williams is a first term lawmaker who won in a special election in 2017. Her constituents are from Georgia’s district 39,
A local advocacy group called CAIR Georgia posted a video capturing Williams’ arrest, which soon went viral.
“I was not yelling. I was not chanting. I stood peacefully next to my constituents because they wanted their voices to be heard, and now I’m being arrested,” Williams says in the video.
“I was singled out as a black female senator standing in the rotunda with constituents in the Capitol, a body that I serve in, and I was singled out and arrested today for standing with so many Georgians who are demanding that every vote be counted,”
She was later released on $3,000 bond. Williams was charged with obstruction of a law enforcement officer and preventing or disrupting general assembly sessions.
Georgia’s Department of Public Safety says that Williams was arrested because officers asked protesters to disperse three times and those who refused were arrested. A state law says demonstrations cannot disrupt legislative meetings or sessions.
Williams said she was in the middle of a special Senate session on Tuesday when she decided to join the demonstration.
Protesters were participating in a demonstration organized by a local Black Lives Matter Voters chapter, in response to voter suppression accusations in the contentious governor race between Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp.
“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.”