Raphael Warnock: Freddie Gray, Victim of ‘Lead Poisoning,’ Shows ‘Intersectionality’ of Race & Climate

Raphael Warnock, a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, speaks to Biden supporters as they wait for former President Barack Obama to arrive and speak at a rally as he campaigns for Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, at Turner Field in Atlanta. (AP …
AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

Georgia Senate Democrat candidate Raphael Warnock said during a lecture in October 2019 that Freddie Gray had a criminal record partly due to lead poisoning as a child.

Warnock led a discussion at the Memorial Church of Harvard University in October 2019, and during a Q&A after his speech, the moderator asked him about the “overlap” between crime and climate change.

Warnock, who hopes to unseat Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) during the January Georgia Senate runoff, charged that civil rights leaders to be more engaged in climate change activism and that the climate movement has “for too long been suburban and white and middle class.”

He said that civil rights leaders need to pay attention to the “intersectionality” of race and climate change.

Warnock — the senior pastor of the Martin Luther King Jr-linked Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta — then claimed that Freddie Gray, who died of spinal injuries in 2015 while riding in a police van, was a “victim” of lead poisoning. He added that Gray’s confrontation with law enforcement originated from “environmental hazards” in Baltimore, Maryland.

The subsequent violence that erupted after Gray’s death led to the highest rate of bloodshed since Baltimore police kept track of homicide in 1972.

Warnock said:

Freddie Gray in Baltimore. You remember that case? Freddie Gray who died in the custody of the police and became one of those flashpoints for this issue about encounters between the police and ordinary citizens, his story didn’t begin there. Freddie Gray grew up in Baltimore, where I was a pastor for almost five years. He was a victim of environmental hazards in the built environment. Lead poisoning. In substandard housing. In a country where we have known for decades what lead poisoning does and how it leads to behavioral issues in the classroom and learning difficulties. And, then so he becomes part of the prison pipeline. So these civil rights issues, human rights issues, climate change both in the natural world and built environment, are all part of this larger issue that speaks to the soul of America. [Emphasis added.]

Warnock has made other controversial remarks in his career as a reverend.

In an address right before the 2016 presidential election, Warnock said that “America needs to repent for its worship of whiteness.”

“If it is true that a man who has dominated the news and poisoned the discussion for months needs to repent, then it is doubly true that a nation that can produce such a man and make his vitriol go viral needs to repent,” Warnock said.

“No matter what happens next month, more than a third of the nation that would go along with this is reason to be afraid,” Warnock added. “America needs to repent for its worship of whiteness on full display.”

 Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.


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