Stars of HBO’s The Wire have come out to plead for calm as the riots in Baltimore spiraled out of control. Protesters took the streets of the city on the afternoon of April 27, furious after the death of Freddie Gray in police custody on April 19. Gray’s family say that police severed his spine. Looting and violence took place in the city after Gray’s funeral.
One of the city’s most famous exports, The Wire, made a huge contribution to highlighting the social problems in the city during its run between 2002-08. The show was filmed extensively in Baltimore during its run. In response to the violence, actors from the show took to social media to plead for calm.
Meanwhile, the show’s creator, David Simon, wrote a lengthy message on his website pleading for an end to the anarchy. He wrote:
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.