In final week, GOP resurfaces Warnock dispute with then-wife

In the final stretch of Georgia’s runoff campaign, Republicans have launched an attack ad highlighting police footage from the aftermath of a dispute between Senate candidate Raphael Warnock and his then-wife over her accusation that he ran over her foot during an argument in March.

An examination of hours of police bodycam video reviewed by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows that three Atlanta investigators who responded to Ouleye Warnock’s 911 call said they found no evidence her husband did anything wrong.

The footage shows one Atlanta police officer saying that “I don’t think any intent is there” and a second officer saying “I don’t think he did it.” An official who inspected Ouleye Warnock’s foot said she didn’t see any visible signs of injury and expressed skepticism about her accusations.

The AJC reported in March that Warnock wasn’t charged with a crime and that an officer said in a police report that medical officials didn’t find visible signs of injury in Ms. Warnock’s foot. The Democrat disputed her allegations, telling the AJC on March 7 that “it didn’t happen.”

In an exclusive statement to the AJC, Ms. Warnock expressed frustration that the incident has been thrust into the Senate race.

“My children and I have no place in the politics of this election,” she said. “I thank our community for the support and prayers we have received this year, and ask the broader public to respect our family’s privacy.”

The episode between Warnock and his then-wife has come under more scrutiny since Fox News aired a snippet of the footage last week that showed his distraught wife telling police officers her husband was a “great actor” after he denied her claims.

Since then, U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler and her allies have made it a part of their closing argument against Warnock in the Jan. 5 runoffs for control of the Senate.

Loeffler has called the footage “deeply troubling” and that Ms. Warnock’s “voice deserves to be heard.” The National Republican Senatorial Committee cut an ad featuring the clip that began airing on TV on Wednesday.

“This is how Raphael Warnock treated his own family,” a female narrator says at the end of the 30-second spot. “Imagine what he’d do to Georgia.”

Warnock campaign spokesman Michael Brewer called it a “desperate and shameful” distraction from the high-stakes runoff.

‘Draw the line’

The footage from multiple bodycams obtained through a public records request confirms the police report that outlined an argument over Warnock’s refusal to allow his wife to take their two young children to West Africa for her grandfather’s funeral.

Warnock, the senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church, and his wife were in divorce negotiations when the incident occurred and finalized their split about two months later. Court records indicate the divorce case has been sealed.

Her attorney, Randy Kessler, said she has “done what she could to not publicly discuss their private life because they have children who they both dearly love” and that she wants to continue that path.

In the footage, Ms. Warnock tells officers repeatedly that she was leaning into the right rear passenger door of Warnock’s Tesla when he slowly drove forward to drop their children off at school before heading to the airport.

“He doesn’t care. He just cares about his own stuff. He’s got a flight to catch and that’s all that matters. My foot is just a casualty to him of whatever bigger stuff he has going on.”

When the officer tells Ms. Warnock it doesn’t sound intentional, she said her husband was more worried about his Senate campaign. Later, she told an investigator she was fed up with his behavior.

“I have to draw the line today. I’ve had enough of him thinking he can do whatever he wants because of who he is and I just keep taking it and being quiet for his reputation’s sake. And I’ve had it. I’m not taking it anymore.”

‘I don’t want any of this’

Warnock told investigators that he thought his wife had stepped back from the car when he started to drive.

“I start to move slowly thinking she’s clear. I barely move, and all the sudden she’s screaming I ran over her foot. I don’t believe it. But certainly, that wasn’t my intent.”

He goes on to say that he’s trying to protect his parental rights by refusing to let her take the kids to Senegal amid their divorce and that Ms. Warnock is trying to hurt him by “threatening” his reputation as he launches his Senate run.

“I don’t want any of this. This is what she wants. All this drama. I don’t know what she’s thinking. These are our children. If she finishes destroying me, how am I going to take care of our children?”

The bodycam footage captures three of the officers discussing the case outside Ms. Warnock’s townhome, with two of them saying they didn’t see any evidence that Warnock intended to harm her. One of the officers also said Ms. Warnock’s brown suede shoes showed no signs of being run over.

“First thing I did, I looked at his car, looked at his tires and saw the exact same dust, leaves, grass, particles, stuff like that. So as I’m talking to her, I’m looking at both her shoes. Looking for any indentation of the weight being pressed or anything. Shoes are still smooth.”

Another segment documents an interview with an official who reviewed Ms. Warnock for signs of injury and listened to a recording that she captured of the episode. The official told investigators that she didn’t think Warnock ran over his wife’s foot.

“Cause I looked at her foot, you saw it. I don’t see any difference in it.”