Wendell Pierce—whose face you may recognize from HBO’s The Wire, Treme, and Confirmation—was arrested over the weekend after allegedly assaulting a man and woman during a fight over the merits of Bernie Sanders. This weird story is now only getting weirder.
So far, these are the facts as they currently appear: Pierce and his girlfriend got into an argument with three others in a hallway at the Loews Hotel in Atlanta. In the midst of the discussion, the three alleged victims (two of whom are still unnamed) began walking to their room and were followed by Pierce and his girlfriend. At that point there was a scuffle in the doorway of the room. But the sides predictably disagree on who was the aggressor in a fight that turned from verbal to physical.
According to a police report obtained by TMZ, Pierce claims that his three opponents attempted to pull him into their room as he resisted. Conversely, a person who The Daily Beast describes as an eyewitness who was sleeping in the room and was not part of the initial argument says instead that Pierce attempted to barge his way into the room while those inside tried to slam the door shut.
“I went to the door, and Maggie, and her boyfriend, and her cousin had just come in,” the source recounted. “Her cousin is leaning her back against the door and feet against the wall trying to keep the door closed, and the boyfriend is trying to get Mr. Pierce’s hands off his girlfriend … He was trying to force his way into the room, and had a handful of Maggie’s hair, and yanking on the hair, and swinging his arm around.”
The eyewitness acknowledges that Pierce claimed he was being pulled into the room even as the fight was ongoing, but says that nobody inside the room was actually doing that:
Meanwhile, a woman who had accompanied Pierce was screaming from the 23rd-floor hallway.
“She was [on the other side of the door repeatedly] shouting, ‘Wendell, stop it, Wendell, stop it,’” the source said.
Wendell then loudly claimed that “they’re pulling me in,” but nobody in the room was tugging on him, according to the source.
Further the source says that when those inside the room relented from the tug of war over the door, Pierce allegedly charged into the door again and struck the victim, Maggie Elena Baca, on her head:
“He then charged the door, again,” the source said. “He then kept swinging, and hit [Maggie] a couple times, fairly hard, on the side of her head and on top of her head. He never got fully in the room. But it was then that Maggie’s boyfriend shouted, ‘I’m gonna get a knife.’”
Again, this is one side of the story. The police obviously agreed with it, charging Pierce with one count of battery that came with a $1,000 bail.
Pierce, for what it’s worth, was left with scratches on his nose and lip, as shown in his mugshot, also obtained by TMZ: