This post has been updated to correct factual errors.
David Simon, the creator of HBO’s acclaimed cop drama “The Wire,” spoke frankly about the police response to the massacre of 19 children and two teachers at a Texas elementary school on Tuesday — and contrasted that response to police officers he knew in real life.
On Wednesday, it came out that police officers stood by for nearly an hour as parents begged them to confront the shooter — dithering that might have helped create more deaths — and have since failed to offer a coherent explanation for their failure to act.
Simon, inspired by this news, offered his own thoughts in a series of tweets on Thursday. “I am writing to say that as a reporter, I knew men who could not have produced any smart or tactical reason to stand outside a school while children were shot and bleeding to death inside,” Simon, a former Baltimore Sun police reporter, said.
He began his tweet thread by mentioning two police officers he knew who died in the line of duty, named Ira Weiner and Owen Sweeney.
“Yesterday, for the first time in years, I thought about Ira Weiner, who answered a domestic call and ran without backup into that rowhouse on Mulberry because he heard a woman screaming. The man waiting for him on the other side of the door stabbed him above the eye with an icepick, then grabbed Weiner’s gun from the holster and shot him to death. Owen Sweeney, who five years later went up some stairs to try to talk a disturbed man out of his barricade only to be shotgunned to death through a wooden door,” he wrote.
“It may sound as though I am highlighting the risks of being a police officer to mitigate the stories coming out of Texas today,” he added, “That’s not my intent. Those risks are real and there are moments when they can’t be denied [or] mitigated. But honestly, I am writing to say that as a reporter, I knew men who could not have produced any smart or tactical reason to stand outside a school while children were shot and bleeding to death inside.”
He echoed the concerns of CNN’s senior law enforcement analyst, Andrew McCabe, who, ahead of Thursday’s press conference, said, “It’s almost incomprehensible for me to come up with a rational explanation as to why you would wait 30 minutes to an hour to get in there… The door breaching, if it’s just a locked door, that doesn’t take 30 minutes to get into.”
On Wednesday, Javier Cazares, whose daughter, Jacklyn Cazares, was killed in the attack, told The Associated Press, that he wanted to rush the building with other bystanders when he saw the police were not taking action. “[I said], let’s just rush in because the cops aren’t doing anything like they are supposed to. More could have been done. They were unprepared.”
Angeli Rose Gomez, who was able to save her two children after jumping over the school fence and running inside, told the Wall Street Journal that police not only blocked her and other frantic parents from entering, but briefly handcuffed her. She reports they also pepper-sprayed one father and tased another.
“The police were doing nothing. They were just standing outside the fence. They weren’t going in there or running anywhere,” Gomez said.
Police eventually entered the building and took out the gunman, but not before 21 lives had been lost.