Protesting against numerous voter restriction laws being introduced and passed in many states, Rep. Joyce Beatty of Ohio was arrested Thursday for demonstrating in a prohibited area on Capitol grounds. U.S. Capitol police officers arrested eight other protesters along with the congresswoman.
Beatty, who serves as Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, issued the following statement before attending the protest at the Hart Senate Office Building: “Fifty-six years after the passage of the Voting Rights Act, Americans’ right to vote is still under attack as state legislatures work overtime to dilute our power. So, as Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus—but more importantly as a Black woman—I join with the chorus of individuals demanding justice, change, and the guarantee that my vote counts just like everybody else’s vote counts. This is Our Power, Our Message.”
At least 17 states have enacted 28 new laws that restrict access to voting, including restricted disability access, additional voter identification requirements, and restrictions on absentee voting. In addition to protesting against voter restriction laws, Beatty also stood against Senate Republicans who refuse “to engage meaningfully in drafting federal legislation to ensure that every American has equal access and opportunity to vote.”
Recent Republican filibusters in the Senate have delayed passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and The For The People Act, which was passed in the House in March.
On Thursday afternoon, Beatty posted a photo on Twitter showing her peacefully standing side by side with her fellow demonstrators inside the Hart Senate Office Building while chanting, “End the filibuster!” She wrote, “We will not be turned around. We will keep walking. We will fight for freedom. We will fight for our right to vote!”
According to photos taken at the scene, a female police officer arrested Beatty and used a plastic zip tie to cuff her hands behind her back before escorting the legislator away. Police officials confirmed arresting eight other protesters along with Beatty.
In a recent statement, the U.S. Capitol Police tweeted: “This afternoon, nine people were arrested for demonstrating in a prohibited area on Capitol Grounds. At approximately 3:30pm, the United States Capitol Police responded to the Atrium in the Hart Senate Office Building for reports of illegal demonstration activity. After officers arrived on the scene, they warned the demonstrators three times to stop. Those who refused were arrested for D.C. Code §22-1307. Two males and seven females were transported to USCP Headquarters for processing.”
After Beatty’s arrest, her office issued the following press release: “I stand in solidarity with Black women and allies across the country in defense of our constitutional right to vote. We have come too far and fought too hard to see everything systematically dismantled and restricted by those who wish to silence us. Be assured that this is just the beginning.”