This article has been updated.
David Simon, creator of the legendary Baltimore crime drama “The Wire” and a former reporter for The Baltimore Sun, called for an end to the violent protests that erupted in that city Monday over the death of a 25-year-old black man, Freddie Gray, who died in police custody. Tensions have been high in the city since Gray’s death just over a week ago.
Fifteen police officers were reportedly injured when protests turned violent after a “group of juveniles” faced off with police near Mondawmin Mall. “Several people in the group are reported to be armed with sticks, bricks, and other weapons,” the Baltimore Police Department tweeted from its official Twitter account. Hours earlier, thousands of mourners descended on New Shiloh Baptist Church to attend Gray’s funeral.
Simon, who also created the New Orleans-based drama “Treme,” wrote in a statement on his website that the “anger and the selfishness and the brutality of those claiming the right to violence in Freddie Gray’s name needs to cease.”
Below is Simon’s full statement:
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.
Rachel Kleinman contributed reporting.