David Simon, creator of HBO's Baltimore-set drama series "The Wire," has urged an end to the violence that has rocked the city following the funeral of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who died last week from a spinal cord injury received while in police custody.
On Monday, the writer and former journalist wrote a short but emphatic post on his blog, the Audacity of Despair, calling for peace and telling looters to "go home."
While Simon did not specifically mention the issue of police brutality or the history of tension between law enforcement and Baltimore's black community, he began his post (which was simply titled "Baltimore") by noting that "changes are necessary and voices need to be heard" and predicting that the moment could "prove transformational, if not redemptive for our city."
From there, he addressed the looting and violence that has engulfed the city.
"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."
Simon ended the post by issuing a rebuke to those who've turned to violence and looting: "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."
Before his career in television, Simon worked for more than a decade as a crime reporter for the Baltimore Sun, giving him perhaps greater insight than most into the beleaguered city.
Inspired by Simon's experiences on the beat, "The Wire" painted a complicated portrait of Baltimore over the course of five seasons, each of which focused on a different institution within the city: the school system, newspapers, the drug trade, and so on.
Simon has become a kind of specialist in urban strife. He is also creator of the HBO series "Treme," which depicted life in post-Katrina New Orleans. His Baltimore-set nonfiction book, "Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets" inspired the NBC procedural "Homicide: Life on the Street." He also co-wrote the HBO miniseries "The Corner," adapted from his book about the Baltimore drug trade.
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