Felicia 'Snoop' Pearson, actress in 'The Wire,' arrested in Baltimore drug raid [Updated]
In an ironic twist of truth imitating fiction, Felicia "Snoop" Pearson, who gained acclaim for her portrayal of a ruthless drug assassin in HBO's landmark series "The Wire," was arrested Thursday in Baltimore during a drug raid by police.
The Baltimore Sun reported that Pearson was one of 60 persons arrested in the early morning raid by the Drug Enforcement Administration, which targeted a large-scale heroin and marijuana operation. The actress was taken into custody at a downtown apartment on a state warrant, police told reporters.
Pearson was widely praised in her role on the Baltimore-based series as an androgynous assassin who performed her lethal duties without emotion or remorse. Critics called Snoop one of the most terrifying and intriguing characters on TV.
"She's a real coldhearted person," Pearson said in a 2007 interview. "I love playing her."
The show marked a turnaround for Pearson, who was not a professional actress. She dealt drugs as a teen on the tough streets of Balitmore and eventually wound up in prison for killing a woman in self-defense.
She co-founded a nonprofit organization that worked with at-risk youth and also wrote a memoir, "Grace After Midnight." She had hoped to continue acting.
"First of all, Felicia's entitled to the presumption of innocence. And I would note that a previous, but recent drug arrest that targeted her was later found to be unwarranted and the charges were dropped. Nevertheless, I'm certainly sad at the news today. This young lady has, from her earliest moments, had one of the hardest lives imaginable. And whatever good fortune came from her role in 'The Wire,' seems, in retrospect, limited to that project. She worked hard as an actor and was entirely professional, but the entertainment industry does not offer a great many roles for those who can portray people from the other America. There are, in fact, relatively few stories told about the other America.
Beyond that, I am waiting to see whether the charges against Felicia relate to heroin or marijuana. Obvously, the former would be, to my mind, a far more serious matter. And further, I am waiting to see if the charges of facts offered by the government reflect any involvement with acts of violence, which would of course be of much greater concern.
...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. The opportunities and experiences of her life do not correspond in any way to my own, and her America is different from my own. I am therefore ill-equipped to be her judge in this matter.
-- Greg Braxton
Photo: DEA agents escort Felicia "Snoop" Pearson away during a drug raid in which dozens were taken into custody Credit: Associated Press