The Rev. Raphael G. Warnock speaks during a service at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta earlier this year. (Photo: BRANDEN CAMP/SPECIAL TO THE AJC)

Warnock, wife involved in dispute

The Rev. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat running for U.S. Senate, was accused by his wife of running over her foot with his car during a heated argument days before he filed paperwork to officially seek the office, according to a police report obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Warnock, the senior pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, was not charged with a crime by Atlanta police and an officer said in the report that medical officials didn’t find visible signs of injury in the foot that his wife said was struck by the vehicle. He flatly denied the allegation that he harmed his estranged wife, telling the AJC in an interview that “it didn’t happen.”

The report about the Monday incident came as Raphael Warnock prepared to qualify to run against Republican U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler in one of the nation’s most-watched political contests. One of three prominent Democrats in the contest, his campaign is backed by key state and national officials, including Stacey Abrams and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Ouleye Warnock referred questions on Friday to her lawyer, divorce attorney Randy Kessler. Kessler said her legal team has been “working hard to resolve the divorce out of court and are still hoping to do so soon” but didn’t comment further.

In a Saturday interview at his Decatur campaign office, Raphael Warnock said he and his wife separated in November and three weeks ago signed documents that aimed to resolve their divorce. But he said the two got into a sharp disagreement on Sunday night about her desire to take their two young children to visit relatives in Senegal.

“The divorce settlement secured in legal terms my parental rights in the case of international travel. I felt we needed to have that resolved before traveling internationally. It’s literally a matter of signing a form. That’s where a dispute arose.”

Raphael and Ouleye Warnock are prominent members of Atlanta society. Ouleye Warnock works as Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ senior human trafficking fellow and is considered a member of her executive team.

The couple, who wed in 2016, have declined to talk about their marriage in recent months.

According to the report, shortly after Warnock arrived at his wife’s home on Monday they began arguing about whether Raphael Warnock would allow his wife to apply for passports so that she could take their children to West Africa for her grandfather’s funeral.

Warnock told police that he had previously denied the request and that he didn’t have time to talk about it again, according to the report.

He told police that his wife refused to close the right rear passenger door of his car so that he could leave. He told authorities he began to “slowly” drive forward — and then heard his wife accuse him of driving over her foot.

The report said Ouleye Warnock was able to wiggle her toes and that Grady Hospital first-responders were “not able to locate any swelling, redness, or bruising or broken bones.”

Atlanta Police declined to offer any additional details.

“We will let the report speak for itself,” said Sgt. John Chafee, a police spokesman.

Kessler, Ouleye Warnock’s attorney, said Saturday that his client had no immediate response to Raphael Warnock’s comments about the incident. “She has done her best to not comment and she wants to continue that at this point for the family’s sake.”

Raphael Warnock said that he hopes the divorce can soon be settled amicably in a way that leaves the children “feeling protected and loved.”

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