Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson blasted the state’s attorney’s decision to drop all of the charges against Jussie Smollett, who was accused of lying to police about an alleged hate crime attack.
Shortly after Smollett spoke to reporters Tuesday and said, “I’ve been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one,” city leaders unloaded on the Empire actor and the decision to end the case.
“This is a whitewash of justice,” a furious Emanuel said as he stood next to Johnson. “I’d like to remind everybody a grand jury indicted this individual based on only a piece of the evidence that the police had collected in that period of time. So a grand jury actually brought the charges.”
Earlier this month Smollett was indicted on 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct, for allegedly lying to police about being attacked.
Johnson, who previously accused the actor of staging the Jan. 29 attack to get a salary increase on Empire, said he still believes the charges were justified.
“I’m sure we all know what occurred this morning,” he began. “My personal opinion is that you all know where I stand in this. Do I think justice was served? No. I think this city is still owed an apology.”
“If someone accused me of doing anything that would circumvent [my integrity], then I would want my day in court,” he added.
The police superintendent accused Smollett’s legal team of striking a secret deal with prosecutors.
“I’ve heard that they [Smollett’s lawyers] wanted their day in court with TV cameras so America could know the truth, but no, they chose to hide behind secrecy and broker a deal to circumvent the judicial system,” he said. “My job as a police officer is to investigate an incident, gather evidence, gather the facts and present them to the State’s Attorney. That’s what we did. I stand behind the detectives’ investigation.”
Emanuel was just as indignant, and slammed Smollett for using the “laws and principles and values” behind the Matthew Shepard hate crimes legislation “to self-promote your career.” ( Shepard, a gay University of Wyoming student, was tortured and beaten to death in 1998).
He added that there will be repercussions.
“Gay men and women who will come forward and one day will say they were a victim of a hate crime and now will be doubted,” he said. “People of faith, Muslim or any other faith, who will be a victim of hate crime; people of all walks of life, background, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, now this casts a shadow of whether they’re telling the truth.”
Smollett forfeited his $10,000 bond in the now-sealed case, but Emanuel said the money isn’t enough.
“$10,000 doesn’t even come close to what the city spent in resources. And he did this all in the name of self-promotion,” the mayor insisted.
Emanuel also maintained that the attack on the actor by brothers Abimbola “Abel” Osundairo and Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo was staged.
“Mr. Smollett is still saying that he is innocent, still running down the Chicago police department. How dare him. How dare him,” the mayor said. “Even after this whitewash, still, no sense of ownership over what he has done.”
He then essentially called Smollett a liar and questioned the 36-year-old star’s character.
“You have a person using hate crime laws that are on the books to protect people who are minorities from violence to then turn around and use those laws to advance your career and your financial reward. Is there no decency in this man?” he said.