David Simon, the director of the HBO series The Wire, has responded to the arrest of his former colleague Felicia Pearson aka Snoop. "I'm certainly sad at the news today," he wrote in a statement provided to Slate. In the Baltimore-based crime drama, Snoop played a hardened killer deeply enmeshed in the drug trade. It was a role Pearson knew all too well, given that her parents were incarcerated drug adicts, she herself had been a drug dealer and, at the age of 14, was convicted of murder.
"This young lady has, from her earliest moments, had one of the hardest lives imaginable," Simon wrote. "And whatever good fortune came from her role in The Wire seems, in retrospect, limited to that project."
He also skewered U.S. drug policies, a central theme of his tv series and many of his other public statements:
I am waiting to see whether the charges against Felicia relate to heroin or marijuana. Obviously, the former would be, to my mind, a far more serious matter. And further, I am waiting to see if the charges or statement of facts offered by the government reflect any involvement with acts of violence, which would of course be of much greater concern.
In an essay published two years ago in Time magazine, the writers of The Wire made the argument that we believe the war on drugs has devolved into a war on the underclass, that in places like West and East Baltimore, where the drug economy is now the only factory still hiring and where the educational system is so crippled that the vast majority of children are trained only for the corners, a legal campaign to imprison our most vulnerable and damaged citizens is little more than amoral. And we said then that if asked to serve on any jury considering a non-violent drug offense, we would move to nullify that jury's verdict and vote to acquit. Regardless of the defendant, I still believe such a course of action would be just in any case in which drug offenses absent proof of violent acts are alleged.