The Wire creator David Simon has responded to a man being sentenced in the death of actor Michael K. Williams who played Omar Little in HBO’s drug war drama.
Carlos Macci, 72, was sentenced to 30 months in prison for being part of a four-man crew that sold a lethal bag of fentanyl-laced heroin to Williams in 2021. According to The New York Times, the judge said that “while she sympathized with Mr. Macci’s troubles, the deadly toll of fentanyl and his decision to keep selling heroin laced with it even after Mr. Williams died demanded accountability.”
Simon previously made headlines by writing a letter to a Manhattan judge arguing that Macci is a victim of the same addiction issues and circumstances that claimed Williams’ life. On Twitter, Simon responded to a user who posted a tabloid headline saying that Macci was sentenced “despite” Simon “begging for leniency.”
“I wrote a letter, at the request, of a defense attorney, seeking leniency for this man,” Simon replied. “I know — not only from direct conversations with my late friend but from his own filmed work against mass incarceration and the drug war — it was the right thing to do. Fuck their verbs … Also — and not to credit my letter over other advocacy as I don’t know the net effect — this judge’s sentence comes not ‘despite’ the appeal; it is in fact far more lenient than sentencing guidelines or even prosecutorial request.”
Indeed, Macci was reportedly originally facing a 10-year sentence.
Simon added, reacting to another comment, “A 71-year-old addict on a corner touting vials or bags with little or no involvement in the chemical composition of such is a ‘supplier.’ Ok, Pete. Lock him up and every sad soul who wants that product finds it regardless today. The drug war doesn’t fucking work.”
According to The New York Times, Simon wrote in his original letter: “What happened to Mike is a grievous tragedy,” Simon reportedly wrote. “But I know that Michael would look upon the undone and desolate life of Mr. Macci and know two things with certainty: First, that it was Michael who bears the fuller responsibility for what happened. … No possible good can come from incarcerating a 71-year-old soul, largely illiterate, who has himself struggled with a lifetime of addiction” and was “caught up in the diaspora of addiction himself.”
Simon added that Williams was “one of the finest actors with whom I have had the honor to collaborate and one of the most thoughtful, gracious and charitable souls I could ever call a friend.”
The Wire premiered in 2008 and ran for five seasons. In 2008, then-Sen. Barack Obama called The Wire his favorite TV series and Williams’ Omar his favorite character. After the show ended, Williams was outspoken about his struggles with drug addiction. Williams also portrayed Montrose Freeman on HBO’s Lovecraft Country, for which he received a 2021 Emmy nomination for outstanding supporting actor in a drama series.
“I just want people to remember me as one cool-ass dude, you know?” Williams told THR in 2011. “Someone who cared. And I would never want anybody to say, ‘Oh, he forgot where he came from.’ That would hurt me the most.”