Rep. Joyce Beatty Detained by Capitol Police During Voting Rights Demonstration


U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty of Ohio was arrested by Capitol police Thursday after she marched to a Senate office building to push for voting rights legislation aimed at curbing restrictions in Republican-controlled states.

The Columbus Democrat and chair of the Congressional Black Caucus joined a coalition of Black women and advocates calling on lawmakers to pass bills that proponents say would expand voting access and guard against racial discrimination. Democrats have rallied around the proposals as states including Ohio seek to change voter identification rules and limit the use of ballot drop boxes.

"We might as well still have the dogs and the hoses because we don't have the Voting Rights Act," Beatty said during a press conference held before her arrest.

Photos and video showed an officer placing Beatty in zip ties and escorting her out of the building. Capitol police said they arrested nine people for "demonstrating in a prohibited area" and transported them to headquarters for processing.

"I stand in solidarity with Black women and allies across the country in defense of our constitutional right to vote," Beatty said in a statement. "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."

Shortly after the incident, Beatty's Twitter account posted, "#GoodTrouble" — a nod to the late civil rights activist and U.S. Rep. John Lewis. Lewis was arrested dozens of times while participating in protests and demonstrations, including several times as a congressman.

Last year, Beatty was among local officials pepper-sprayed during a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Columbus after the murder of George Floyd.