GA State Senator Handcuffed, Arrested, And Jailed For Protesting GOP War On Poor (VIDEO)

Moral Monday protesters arrested at Georgia state capitol.

The Moral Monday movement is spreading throughout the South. A state senator and nine others were arrested and jailed at the latest rally in Atlanta, GA. Photo from Moral Monday GA‘s facebook page.

Anyone who had the backs of North Carolinians during their Moral Monday protests may feel as if they don’t have a horse in the race since the protests died down after the legislative session in the Tar Heel State ended. Luckily, this is quickly changing now that the movement has spread to other states in the south. In fact, hundreds of people turned out for Georgia’s first Moral Monday rally on Jan. 13. But it was the rally on Jan. 27 that will likely make news across the nation. Online Athens reports that 10 were arrested for occupying GOP Gov. Nathan Deal’s office — including¬†State Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta) — after police had ordered them to leave several times.

Here’s the video with State Sen. Fort being handcuffed by police.


Arrests and charges.

The North Carolina rallies, which led to over 100 arrests in a single day in some instances, undoubtedly grew larger than those experienced in Georgia thus far. It’s important to remember, however, that Georgia’s rallies are only in their second week. Of those who attended the latest rally, 10 were arrested and booked into the Fulton County Jail — including State Sen. Vincent Fort. Those arrested were charged with “preventing or disrupting a General Assembly session,” and Republican governor Nathan Deal wouldn’t comment on the arrests.

Unfortunately for those charged with this alleged crime, the state lists it as a misdemeanor. Under the law, misdemeanors can result in jail sentences of up to a year. In a weird twist, however, a person arrested for the crime three times can face a felony charge and prison sentence of up to three years. Because honestly, why shouldn’t those who stand inside of a building that they’re legally allowed to be in be put into prison with murderers, rapists, and other hardened criminals? Hopefully the sarcasm came through via the Internet there.

What lies ahead.

What lies ahead for those charged all depends upon what happens next with the movement. In North Carolina, for instance, a state District Attorney began offering deferred prosecutions, meaning that a person wouldn’t have a criminal record, when more and more people began to be arrested. Not many people, however, decided to take these deals. This may be why the charges against all 57 individuals arrested at the May 20, 2013 Moral Monday rally were just recently dropped.

So this means the prosecutions for those in Georgia may depend on how much support protestors really have. After all, most cities aren’t equipped to handle hundreds of additional arrests every single week, and this is especially the case when the “crimes” being committed are simple civil disobedience. The first rally resulted in no arrests, but it seems likely that more and more people will take a stand for the cause in upcoming weeks. In the mean time, the organizing group has set up an online donation fund to help cover the bail amounts faced by those arrested at the rallies.

What’s next for the Moral Monday movement.

Moral Monday organizers have consistently said that “This isn’t a moment; it’s a movement,” and those attending rallies in Georgia appear to be standing by this. Upcoming rallies are said to focus on “Stand Your Ground” laws and voter restrictions in the Peach State. For those interested in voter discrimination in Georgia, it’s interesting to note that a new bipartisan bill in Congress may give a little bit of power back to the Voting Rights Act (VRA).

The new law will only apply to states who have violated federal voting laws at least five times over the past 15 years. The funniest part? Georgia falls under that umbrella with three other states, but Alabama doesn’t. That’s right:¬† Georgia has progressed so much in voting rights over the past century, they are considered more likely to violate voting rights than the state where the Selma protests gave rise to the VRA. That’s why there’s a Moral Monday movement necessary in the state.

Here’s a video from Atlanta on Jan. 13, with NC Moral Monday founder Rev. Dr. William Barber giving the kick-off speech.