TV producer David Simon, who dramatized Baltimore’s police force and racial tensions on the HBO series The Wire, pleaded with protesters in the city to go home after the scene turned violent. More than 15 police officers were injured and 200 people were arrested during riots, which broke out in the wake of the funeral of Freddie Gray. Gray suffered what was officially referred to as an unspecified “medical emergency” while in police custody earlier this month and died from his injuries on April 19th.
“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,” Simon wrote on his blog. “Turn around. Go home. Please.”
The producer and writer, whose credits also include Homicide: Life on the Street and Treme, wrote that “there is a lot to be argued, debated, addressed” and that change could be achieved “despite what is now loose in the streets.” But he mostly wanted the protesters to stop any violent activity. “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,” Simon wrote. “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 home-going today. But this, now, in the streets, is an affront to that man’s memory and a dimunition [sic] of the absolute moral lesson that underlies his unnecessary death.”
Gray was arrested without incident on April 12th for being in possession of a switchblade. While riding in a police car, he suffered the “medical emergency,” which doctors later said severed 80 percent of Gray’s spine, causing him to become comatose.
Gray’s mother, Gloria Darden, spoke out against the violence, after it erupted, saying, “I want y’all to get justice for my son, but don’t do it like this here.” His twin sister, Fredericka, also said, “I don’t think that’s for Freddie. I think the violence is wrong.”
Following Monday night’s riots, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake instituted a 10 p.m. curfew for the week. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency in the city and called in the National Guard to quell the unrest.