New York Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn intends to introduce a prison reform bill in honor of late actor Michael K. Williams.
Assemblymember Hermelyn represents parts of Brooklyn, including Williams’ neighborhood of East Flatbush. TMZ reports she’s working with the ACLU on the bill that aims to reduce mass incarceration while also focusing on Black and Latino youth.
Many see Hermelyn’s bill as a fitting tribute as Williams, 54, was an ACLU ambassador for ending mass incarceration.
Prior to his death, the Emmy-nominated star was working on a documentary about former prison inmates reentering society.
Hermelyn says Williams had also teamed with her husband, Edu, and The Wire actor Jamie Hector to pass out school supplies during a Sept. 12 back-to-school event in Brooklyn. Per TMZ, the event will now be held annually in remembrance of Williams.
Meanwhile, police are investigating Williams’ death as a possible drug overdose. However, his cause of death won’t be confirmed until a toxicology test is completed. The news outlet TMZ is reporting that the New York Police Department is investigating the origin of the narcotics found in Williams’ apartment, with several other media outlets claiming the drugs were heroin laced with fentanyl.
Williams, who came to prominence with many move and TV-goers by playing Omar Little on The Wire, has not been shy about revealing his past battles with drugs, saying in a 2012 interview that he spent much of his earnings from The Wire doing drugs “in scary places with scary people… I was playing with fire.”
Most recently, Williams mesmerized fans via his roles on two critically-acclaimed series: Lovecraft Country and Boardwalk Empire.
Countless tributes poured in after news of Williams’ death became public, including those from David Simon, co-creator of The Wire, who wrote, “Too gutted right now to say all that ought to be said. Michael was a fine man and a rare talent and on our journey together he always deserved the best words. And today those words won’t come.”
Academy Awarwinning director Spike Lee shared a photo of him with Williams that included the caption “Our Greats Are Leaving Us Left And Right. God Bless.”
Queen Latifah paid tribute to her longtime friend on Tuesday, sharing a photo on Instagram of her and Williams together at an event.
“When I walked in this room and saw You…for a moment the world went away and it was just Mike and D,” Latifah captioned the image. “Me and You my friend who knows me like no other and vice versa. Only We know the Ish we got into as teenagers while still Daring to be Great in Life! God Bless our Praying Mothers who would Never accept us being less than they knew God meant for us to be! Your Heart has always been So Big. Thank you for sharing it with so many. The world will miss your talent, but I will miss your silly laugh! I Love You Mike and I will Always be proud of you. ❤️D”