In light of his arrest, actor Wendell Pierce will not speak at the graduation ceremony at Rutgers University Newark. The following message was post on the university’s Facebook:
Dear Rutgers University – Newark community members,
This morning Rutgers University – Newark was informed by actor and humanitarian Wendell Pierce that in order to assure that commencement 2016 will be a celebration of the accomplishments of our students free of distractions, he is declining to join us and consequently must decline the conferral of an honorary degree.
At the same time, we are pleased to announce that award-winning journalist, documentarian, news anchor, and producer Soledad O’Brien will address the Class of 2016.
We eagerly anticipate a joyous event with our remarkable students and their families on Wednesday, May 18 at the Prudential Center in Newark.
Peter T. Englot
Senior Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs and Chief of Staff
New details have surfaced about the altercation that happened this weekend in Atlanta. ABC News reports,
According to a report released by Atlanta police Monday, the actor got into an altercation with a woman named Maggie Baca early Saturday morning at Loews Atlanta Hotel, where he was staying as a guest.
Pierce, 52, who was with his girlfriend at the time of the incident, ran into Baca and her two friends as he was exiting the hotel’s elevator, according to the police report.
“Both groups of parties began a conversation about politics which got Mr. Pierce upset,” the report states. “Mrs. Baca stated that Mr. Pierce began to push her and at this point her and her friends began to walk to their room. Mrs. Baca stated that Mr. Pierce followed them to their room and stuck his arm in the door and tried to enter the room. Mrs. Baca stated her and her friends tried to push Mr. Pierce out when he began to hit her in the head and grab her hoodie, ripping the hood off.”
The police report adds that Pierce claimed that although he followed the trio to their room, he was “standing outside when he was grabbed by Mrs. Baca and her 2 friends who attempted to pull him in and he was trying to get away.”
Both Pierce and Baca declined medical attention, the police report states.
Pierce has yet to comment. Update #2. Wendell has tweeted the following about the incident: