As reported earlier, The Wire’s Felicia “Snoop” Pearson had a very Wire-like run-in with the law today—one of several she’s had in her rough lifetime. Naturally, her arrest had many people wondering what Wire creator David Simon thought about it, and what do you know: When Slate contacted him, he had a lot to say, and much of it was anger directed squarely at the system. Although he’s sad for Pearson, Simon hastens to remind everyone that she’s still innocent until proven guilty, and that we’re not even sure what charges she will face—and most importantly, whether those charges will “reflect any involvement with acts of violence, which would of course be of much greater concern.” Simon continues:
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.
Both our Constitution and our common law guarantee that we will be judged by our peers. But in truth, there are now two Americas, politically and economically distinct. I, for one, do not qualify as a peer to Felicia Pearson.
You can check out Simon’s full statement over at Slate.