Democratic Ohio Rep. Joyce Beatty was arrested Thursday afternoon at the U.S. Capitol while protesting with a small contingent of followers in favor of sweeping Democrat-backed voting rights legislation. She later described the demonstration as her Martin Luther King Jr. "moment."
Beatty, who is the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, was escorted out of the Hart Senate Office Building in zip ties only minutes after she and a contingent of fellow protesters marched into the building demanding an end to the filibuster and passage of the For the People Act.
Following the protest, Beatty posted a statement saying, "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."
But commenters on social media noted that the congresswoman was essentially protesting for rights she already possesses.
Based on past tweets of hers compiled by conservative commentator Stephen L. Miller, Beatty appears to have had little difficulty exercising her right to vote in prior elections. And she was able to do this even in Ohio, where an ID card is required to vote.
One commenter replied, "America so free you can protest for rights you already got."
Another quipped: "Can you not vote? what happened?"
Beatty later claimed that the demonstration was prompted by numerous election security measures passed in states across the country following the 2020 election, which she argues are intended to suppress minority voting. But none of those state laws have been proven unnecessarily restrictive.
Nonetheless, during a softball interview with MSNBC after her arrest, Beatty glorified the small protest by comparing it to the great civil rights demonstrations of the 1960s.
"Were were in our movement, in our moment. We felt like John Lewis, we felt like Martin Luther King," Beatty said proudly.
Rep. Joyce Beatty Responds To Being Arrested In Senate Office Building www.youtube.com
Earlier that day, she characterized the state of play in modern politics as similar to the civil rights era.
"We might as well still have the dogs and the hoses because we don't have the Voting Rights Act," Beatty said at a rally prior to the event.