Capitol Police arrest Rep. Joyce Beatty at protest

Congressional Black Caucus chair was part of a group advocating voting rights

Rep. Joyce Beatty, left, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, is arrested by U.S. Capitol Police as 19 voting rights activists hold a protest in the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Rep. Joyce Beatty, left, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, is arrested by U.S. Capitol Police as 19 voting rights activists hold a protest in the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Posted July 15, 2021 at 5:46pm

Capitol Police arrested Congressional Black Caucus Chair Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, for participating in a voting rights demonstration in the Hart Senate Office Building on Thursday.

Beatty and eight other voting rights activists were arrested for crowding, obstructing or incommoding, the legal term used by the department when protesters are arrested on Capitol Hill.

They were protesting to call for action in the Senate on the For the People Act, a wide-ranging elections overhaul bill that would, among other actions, expand voting rights significantly. Republicans in the chamber blocked the measure in June, utilizing the filibuster and its 60-vote threshold to prevent the Senate from moving forward on it.

“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,” the Capitol Police said in a statement. “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.”

Those arrested are processed at the Capitol Police headquarters across the street from the Hart Building and are usually assessed a $50 fine.

The group was chanting “I Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ’Round,” a song closely associated with the civil rights movement. After her arrest, Beatty posted “#GoodTrouble” — words often attributed to the late civil rights icon and Georgia Rep. John Lewis, who was arrested many times advocating for voting rights.

“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. This is Our Power, Our Message,” Beatty said in a statement after her arrest.

In May 2020 in Columbus, Ohio, where her district is based, Beatty protested the killing that month of George Floyd and was pepper-sprayed by police.