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'The Wire' Creator, Stars Slam Baltimore Violence

File - David Simon, creator and executive producer of the HBO series "The Wire" - set in Baltimore, Maryland - is condemning the violence, rioting and looting in the wake of the death of 25-year-old African American Freddie Gray in early April 2015. (AP)

The creator and stars of Baltimore crime drama The Wire have lent their voices to the calls against violence in the city.

"The anger and the selfishness and the brutality of those claiming the right to violence in Freddie Gray’s name needs to cease," the American television show's creator, David Simon, wrote Monday on his website.

"There was real power and potential in the peaceful protests that spoke in Gray’s name initially, and there was real unity at his home-going today," said Simon, a former Baltimore Sun crime reporter. "But this, now, in the streets, is an affront to that man’s memory and a [diminution] of the absolute moral lesson that underlies his unnecessary death."

Unexplained death

Gray, 25, died earlier this month of a severe spinal cord injury while in police custody. It is unclear how he was injured, but officials said he was not wearing a seatbelt as he should have been while being transported in a police van.

In a video of his arrest, a woman can be heard yelling that Gray's leg looks broken as he is being dragged into the vehicle. What sounds like Gray's own screams also can be heard in the video.

The Wire aired on TV network HBO from 2002 to 2008, dramatizing the Baltimore police department's real-life battle against drugs and crime, while also highlighting corruption within its ranks. The show has aired internationally as well, including in Britain.

Even U.S. President Barack Obama is a fan, calling The Wire "one of the greatest shows of all time."

Decrying violence

Actor Andre Royo, who played a drug addict in the series, tweeted his own appeal to rioters Monday.

"To my beloved city Baltimore.. I feel your pain," he said. "Stand up ... rise UP without breaking down! Discipline not Destruction," he tweeted, along with the hashtag #VictorynotVictims.

​"Note to self ... 'You shouldn't have to hurt nobody to be somebody!'" he added in a second tweet.

Wendell Pierce, who played a detective on The Wire, also tweeted his disapproval of the violence.

"Baltimore. These are not protestors," he said. "These are criminals disrespectful of the wishes of the family and people of good will."

Show creator Simon's statement echoed those sentiments.

"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," he wrote.