Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
On January 29th, “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett reported to the police that he had been attacked by two men in Chicago. Smollett also told the police that his attackers shouted “This is MAGA Country” during the attack and attacked him while shouting racist and homophobic slurs threw a substance on him and tied a noose around his neck.
The FBI was also involved in the investigation by investigating a letter Smollett received prior to the attack. Following an investigation by the Chicago police, the police found that Smollett’s attackers were two associates of his and that large parts of Smollett’s original report were false.
On February 20th, Smollett was charged with filing a false police report and appeared in court on February 21st after surrendering to the authorities that morning. Smollett appeared in court where a Judge set Smollett’s bail at $100,000 and is expected to make a plea on March 14th.
Following the situation, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson held a press conference to speak about the incident.
“’Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger to promote his career. I am left hanging my head and asking, ‘Why?’” Johnson said. “‘Why would anyone, especially an African-American man, use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations? How could someone look at the hatred and suffering associated with that symbol and see an opportunity to manipulate that symbol to further his own public profile? How can an individual who has been embraced by the city of Chicago turn around and slap everyone in this city in the face by making these false claims?”
Edward Wodnicki of the Chicago Police Area Central Detectives told Chicago’s ABC 7 “The city came together to investigate and help the police with this crime. It was because of these pod cameras, our investment into technology in the city of Chicago and the great assistance from the community in giving us those other cameras that led us to a really solid timeline of where our two persons of interest went. So in short, we were able to track them initially forward.”
Following the incident, several people spoke about the incident. 20th Century Fox and Fox Entertainment, the company responsible for Empire released a statement.
“We understand the seriousness of this matter and we respect the legal process. We are evaluating the situation and we are considering our options,” The statement said.
Smollett’s lawyers released a statement following the arrest.
“Like any other citizen, Mr. Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked,” Lawyers said. “Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense.”
President Donald Trump tweeted about the incident on Thursday morning saying “[email protected] – what about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and dangerous comments!? #MAGA
“I want to thank all of the Chicago police officers who have worked on this case, and all of the private citizens and business owners who have stepped forward with information and video evidence to help us get to the bottom of what was reported as a hate crime,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel said. “All across Chicago, in every neighborhood, there are signs in front yards and in windows that read, ‘Hate Has No Home Here.’ It is a sign that expresses our shared values and defines our great city. Chicago’s message to the world is that no matter where you come from, who you love, or how you pray you will always have a home here. Our laws exist to reflect and defend those values, and hate crimes will never be tolerated. A single individual who put their perceived self-interest ahead of these shared principles will never trump Chicago’s collective spirit.”