Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock blames 'pandemic of racism' for brother's drug conviction

Instead of mentioning the severity of Coleman's offence or the fact that he was a cop at the time he committed it, Sen. Warnock simply chalked the sentence up to a "pandemic of racism" in the system.

Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC

Sen. Raphael Warnock has publicly decried America's justice system for years, often citing the case of his half-brother Keith Coleman, who was sentenced to life in prison for his involvement in a drug trafficking operation.

Instead of mentioning the severity of Coleman's offense or the fact that he was a cop at the time he committed it, Sen. Warnock simply chalked the sentence up to a "pandemic of racism" in the system.

As the Washington Free Beacon reports, while Coleman was an officer with the Savannah Police Department in Georgia, he used his police powers and equipment to help facilitate a cross-border drug trafficking operation.

Between 1996 and 1997, Coleman is alleged to have received $46,000 for his role in the scheme, which involved the trafficking of 28.2kg of cocaine.

According to the Free Beacon, Coleman became a "ringleader" of sorts, and often threatened those with whom he dealt that he would use his police powers to throw them in jail if they failed to do what he told them.

"If I knowed I was f*cking with a motherf*cker off the corner who can't afford [to pay me] no more than $1,500," court records show Coleman saying, "his black a** would be in prison."

Following a successful sting operation by the FBI, he was convicted in November 1997  of "conspiring and attempting to aid and abet the distribution of cocaine, and with carrying a firearm during a drug trafficking offense," and subsequently sentenced to life in prison.

Sen. Warnock did not mention any of this in the numerous testimonies he delivered decrying the justice system's treatment of his half-brother.

"[My brother] was a first-time offender," Sen. Warnock said in 2020, "convicted of a nonviolent drug-related offense, in which no one got hurt, no one died, no one even got high because the federal government basically created the sting operation."

He also compared Coleman to Rayshard Brooks, who had been shot and killed by police, claiming he also knew what it was like to lose an innocent family member to the system.

Sen. Warnock wrote to President Obama asking him to pardon Coleman, to no avail.

In 2020, however, he was released after twenty-two years in prison amid concerns over COVID-19 in detention facilities.


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