Actor charged after blood boils over politics

Actor Wendell Pierce, a cast member in Confirmation. Photo / AP
Actor Wendell Pierce, a cast member in Confirmation. Photo / AP

An altercation about politics resulted in Wendell Pierce, the 52-year-old actor best known for playing Detective William "Bunk" Moreland on HBO's The Wire, being arrested in Atlanta.

Police have confirmed that Pierce was charged with simple battery assault and released that same day on bail, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The altercation, which took place in a bar in the Loews Hotel in Atlanta. Pierce, an avowed Hillary Clinton supporter, allegedly began arguing with a Bernie Sanders supporter and her boyfriend, according to TMZ.

The site goes on to report the conversation became heated, and Pierce "became enraged, pushed the boyfriend and then went after his girlfriend ... grabbing her hair and smacking her in the head".

The Daily Beast offers a slightly contradictory account, reporting that the woman "stepped into an altercation already under way".

Atlanta police released a statement, calling the incident nothing "significant," according to WDSU.

"Mr Wendell Pierce was arrested at Atlanta Lowes (sic) Hotel, where he was a guest. The incident did not rise to anything significant so no special notification was made ... it was treated like any other arrest a patrol officer conducts. Mr Pierce made no indication he was famous nor did the officer inquire."

Pierce did not respond to a request for comment by New Orleans' daily paper, the New Orleans Advocate.

Pierce is also known for playing trombonist Antoine Batiste in Treme, the HBO series about his hometown New Orleans in the months following Hurricane Katrina. And, recently, he portrayed Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in the HBO historical drama Confirmation.

Off-screen, Pierce is known for his political and social activism. For example, he recently used his substantial Twitter platform - more than 100,000 followers - to call attention to the search for Anign Jordan, an 11-year-old girl who went missing in New Orleans. She was found later that same day. He also uses Twitter to discuss his politics, which often includes disparaging statements concerning Bernie Sanders and his supporters.

He also has been a staunch supporter of President Barack Obama. In 2013, the Associated Press named Pierce as one of Obama's top fundraisers, as he reportedly raised at least US$500,000 for the president's re-election campaign. And in 2012, he attended a White House state dinner with PBS journalist Gwen Ifill.

If proven, the allegations against Pierce wouldn't be the first time political views have caused real world strife during this election season. Two weeks ago, a Trump-supporting tow truck driver refused service to a disabled Bernie Sanders supporter because of her political beliefs.

- Washington Post

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