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Tom Kertscher
By Tom Kertscher November 16, 2020

No proof Warnock ‘ran over’ wife; obstruction case dropped

If Your Time is short

  • Police found no evidence that Warnock ran over his estranged wife’s foot with his car.

  • Warnock was arrested after blocking officers who were doing a child abuse probe, but a prosecutor, citing a miscommunication, had the charge dropped.

With the future of Senate control in the hands of Georgia voters, Republicans and Democrats are hurling claim after claim at one another in advance of a Jan. 5 runoff for two Senate seats.

The Rev. Raphael Warnock, the Democratic challenger to Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, was hit with a double-barreled attack Nov. 13 from Erick Erickson, a conservative Atlanta-based radio host. Tweeting a video excerpt from his show, Erickson claimed Warnock "ran over his wife" and was "arrested for obstructing an investigation into child abuse."

The claim is highly misleading on both counts and comes as Republicans seek to maintain the political upper hand in the Senate, which is now split 50-48. No candidate in either of the Peach State contests on Nov. 3 earned more than 50% of the vote, leaving its two Senate seats up for grabs.

So while Democrats are poised to control the White House and the House, control of the Senate won’t be known until after the Georgia runoffs.

Warnock, pastor of the Atlanta church where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. preached, finished first on Nov. 3 among 21 candidates seeking the seat held by Loeffler, who finished second. The Atlanta businesswoman was appointed on an interim basis in December to replace GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson, who resigned with health problems. 

Incident with his then-wife

The incident involving Warnock’s then-estranged wife occurred in Atlanta in March and made news a week later.

Warnock was married to Oulèye Ndoye; they divorced in May. Until July, Ndoye served on Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms' executive team as the city’s senior human trafficking fellow. 

Warnock called police to Ndoye’s Atlanta home shortly before 8:30 a.m. on March 2. According to a police report:  

Warnock said Ndoye accused him of running over her left foot with his 2014 Tesla while they were arguing in her driveway. Ndoye was reluctant to show her foot to the officer, who wrote: "I did not see any signs that Ms. Ouleye’s foot was ran over." Medical personnel arrived and were "not able to locate any swelling, redness, or bruising or broken bones on Ms. Ouleye’s left foot."

Featured Fact-check

Child abuse investigation

The child abuse case referenced in the ad stemmed from a 2002 police investigation into alleged child abuse at a church-run camp near Baltimore; Warnock was the church’s pastor. 

According to news reports at the time, Warnock and the youth minister at Douglas Memorial Community Church in Baltimore were arrested July 31, 2002, and charged with trying to prevent a state trooper from interviewing teen counselors at the church's Camp Farthest Out in Eldersburg, about 30 miles northwest of Baltimore. Neither man was suspected of committing the alleged abuse, a state trooper said at the time.

Warnock said he was charged when he asserted that lawyers should be present during the teens’ interviews.

On Oct. 30, 2002, a judge dismissed the charges. The dismissal came at the request of a prosecutor, who said: "What we decided was there was some miscommunication that had occurred with them. They were very helpful with the continued investigation. It would not have been a prudent use of resources to have prosecuted them."

Erickson did not reply to our requests for information to back up his statement. In addition to Erickson, Loeffler and other conservatives raised the incident after the Nov. 3 election.

Our ruling

Erickson said Warnock "ran over his wife" and was "arrested for obstructing an investigation into child abuse."

Police found no evidence that Warnock ran over his wife’s foot with his car during an argument in March 2020.

In 2002, Warnock and another minister were arrested for interfering with law enforcement officers who were trying to interview youth camp counselors about child abuse allegations at the camp, which was run by a church where Warnock was the pastor. Warnock said he was asserting that lawyers should be present. The charges were later dropped at the request of a prosecutor, who said there had been miscommunication and that both ministers had been "very helpful" later in the investigation.

Erickson’s statement contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression. We rate it Mostly False.

This fact check is available at IFCN’s 2020 US Elections FactChat #Chatbot on WhatsApp. Click here, for more.

Our Sources

Twitter, Erick Erickson tweet, Nov. 13, 2020 

SoundCloud, Erick Erickson radio show (45:40), Nov. 13, 2020

Email, Raphael Warnock campaign spokesman Terrence Clark, Nov. 15, 2020

Atlanta Journal Constitution, "Warnock, wife involved in dispute," March 9, 2020

Atlanta Journal Constitution, "Republicans raise Warnock’s 2002 arrest as Senate runoffs heat up," Nov. 12, 2020

Baltimore Sun, "City ministers accused of obstructing abuse probe," Aug. 3, 2002

Baltimore Sun, "2 ministers no longer facing charges of hindering probe," Nov. 7, 2002

Carroll County Times, "Ministers charged with hindering investigation," Aug. 1, 2002  

Atlanta Police Department, report 200620485-00, March 2, 2020

Email, officer Anthony Grant, Atlanta Police Department, Nov. 15, 2020

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No proof Warnock ‘ran over’ wife; obstruction case dropped

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