Raphael Warnock Reflects On 2017 Arrest At Capitol

On Friday (January 22), Rev. Raphael Warnock, Georgia’s first Black Senator, remembered his last trip to the Capitol in 2017 when he was arrested. 

“The last time I was here in 2017, Capitol police were escorting me to central booking for leading a non-violent protest of an immoral budget,” Sen. Warnock wrote in a tweet. 

“This time they just had to show me to my office.” 

The long-time progressive pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta had made his way to the US Capitol in July of 2017 with other religious leaders to meet with government officials to protest a budget proposal that took away funding for Medicaid, the NIH, and the CDC.

Video of the protest was taken and shows Warnock kneeling in a prayer circle in the rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building. 

A police officer then leads Warnock up onto his feet before placing him in handcuffs.

According to a report by the Huffington Post, Warnock was charged with obstruction and incommoding and crowding. He was held in custody for three hours and paid a $50 fine before being released. 

On why he felt motivated to protest the budget, Warnock said this in a statement

“As a pastor, I believe that the national budget is not just a fiscal document, but a moral document. It reflects what we believe and who we are for one another. And if this mean spirited budget were an EKG, it would indicate that America has a heart condition.” 

Sen. Warnock was also arrested during a 2014 protest against state Republican’s failure to expand Medicaid. 

During his campaign, Warnock talked about healthcare access, mass incarceration, and raising wages. 

Warnock plans to take his campaign platform to the Senate Chamber, telling MSNBC, “The last time, I came engaged in protest. Now, I get to be engaged as one who can create public policy.” 

Photo: Getty Images

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