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‘The Wire’ star Wendell Pierce arrested after political chat boils over

By Lisa Respers France, CNN

Actor Wendell Pierce was arrested in Atlanta over the weekend over an incident stemming from a testy exchange over politics, police said.

Pierce, best known for his role as Detective William “Bunk” Moreland on the hit HBO series “The Wire,” was detained in Atlanta early Saturday morning, Atlanta Police Department spokesman Donald Hannah said.

Pierce was arrested at the Loews Atlanta Hotel, where he had been staying as a guest. Hannah said the actor didn’t give any indication he was famous and the incident was treated like any other arrest.

The police report states that Pierce and his girlfriend met a woman named Maggie Baca and two of her friends in the hotel when “both groups of parties began a conversation about politics which got Mr. Pierce upset.”

“Mrs. Baca stated that Mr. Pierce began to push her and at this point her and her friends began to walk to their room,” the report said. “Mrs. Baca stated that Mr. Pierce followed them to their room and stuck his arm in the door and tried to enter the room.”

The report went on to say that Baca accused Pierce of hitting her in the head and grabbing her hoodie as she and her friends allegedly attempted to push him from getting into the room.

Both Pierce and Baca reportedly declined medical assistance.

According to the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office website, Pierce was charged with simple battery. He was booked and released on Saturday. His bond was set at $1,000.

Pierce addressed the incident in a series of tweets late Monday night.

“I regret that what started as a civil political discussion escalated to the level that it did. Although what has been reported thus far differs in important respected from what actually occurred, I have confidence that the judicial process will work as it should,” he posted over three tweets.

Pierce has also worked as a director and has been featured in a number of other film and TV projects, including “Selma” and “Suits.”

In April, it was announced that he was investing in a $20 million apartment complex in Baltimore, the city which was the setting for “The Wire.”

On Monday, Rutgers University-Newark announced that Pierce would be replaced as commencement speaker by journalist Soledad O’Brien.

“Newark (RU-N) was informed by actor and humanitarian Wendell Pierce that in order to assure that commencement 2016 will be a celebration of the accomplishments of its students free of distractions, he is declining to join RU-N and consequently must decline the conferral of an honorary degree,” a press release about the event said.

At the same time, RU-N is pleased to announce that award-winning journalist, documentarian, news anchor, and producer Soledad O’Brien will address the Class of 2016.”

CNN’s Vivian Kuo contributed to this report

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