As tensions escalate between residents and police on the streets of Baltimore, David Simon, a former crime reporter for the Baltimore Sun and showrunner for the critically-acclaimed show The Wire, took to his personal site to call for an end to the protests.
First things first.
Yes, there is a lot to be argued, debated, addressed. And this moment, as inevitable as it has sometimes seemed, can still, in the end, prove transformational, if not redemptive for our city. Changes are necessary and voices need to be heard. All of that is true and all of that is still possible, despite what is now loose in the streets.
But now — in this moment — the anger and the selfishness and the brutality of those claiming the right to violence in Freddie Gray’s name needs to cease. There was real power and potential in the peaceful protests that spoke in Mr. Gray’s name initially, and there was real unity at his homegoing today. But this, now, in the streets, is an affront to that man’s memory and a dimunition of the absolute moral lesson that underlies his unnecessary death.
If you can’t seek redress and demand reform without a brick in your hand, you risk losing this moment for all of us in Baltimore. Turn around. Go home. Please.
The demonstrations erupted Monday after the funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black Baltimore resident who died in police custody over a week ago. Reports of looting, cars set aflame and violent clashes between protestors and Baltimore police led Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to declare a “state of emergency.”
In March, President Barack Obama, a self-described fan of “The Wire”, riffed with Simon about the challenges in today’s criminal justice system for communities like Baltimore affected by the drug trade. Watch that interview below:
Update: Andre Royo and Wendell Pierce, cast members from “The Wire”, joined Simon in calling for an end to the violence in Baltimore on Twitter.
To my Beloved city Baltimore..I feel your pain. Stand up..rise UP without breaking down! Discipline not Destruction. #VictorynotVictims
— Andre Royo (@AndreRoyo) April 27, 2015
Baltimore. These are not protestors. These are criminals disrespectful of the wishes of the family and people of good will.
— Wendell Pierce (@WendellPierce) April 27, 2015