Williams' attorney, David Dreyer, a Democratic state representative from Atlanta, called the arrest an "affront to the First Amendment."
“The charges should have never been brought in the first place, and she never should have been arrested,” he said.
Williams, who also is the chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Georgia, was charged with obstruction and disrupting the General Assembly. The other 14 protesters were charged with disrupting the General Assembly.
In a court filing, Cobb County Solicitor General Barry Morgan said that while there was probable cause for Williams’ arrest, his office decided not to prosecute her.
“While the Capitol Police were professional and correctly did their job, we must also balance the need for public safety in such an important public forum with the inviolable right to free speech and protest, especially of the government,” Morgan wrote in the dismissal. “Our decision here does not reflect condemnation of that arrest decision; this decision is a choice to let the arrest itself serve as punishment for the crime.”
Williams on Saturday said even though her charges have been dropped, “this is far from over.”
“Every American has a right to free speech without fear of ‘punishment,’’” she said. “We are considering a civil suit against the Capitol Police to make sure no one has to go through what I did on November 13th.”
Fulton County Solicitor General Keith E. Gammage handled the cases against the other protesters.
“My trial and appellate team reviewed the facts and the evidence, and determined that in our judgment we would not be able to prove the offense beyond a reasonable doubt,” Gammage said. “Because of that decision, based on the facts and evidence, we did not formally bring charges.”
Under Georgia law, legislators are “free from arrest during sessions of the General Assembly” except for charges of treason, felonies or breach of the peace. The arrests happened on the first of a five-day special session of the Legislature.
Authorities said at the time that the demonstration was broken up after several warnings because of rules that prohibit chanting or yelling while lawmakers are in session.
Williams’ arrest made national headlines at the time, with the senator saying she felt she was targeted for standing with protesters.
Click here to read the dismissal of charges against Sen. Nikema Williams.
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