Chicago’s top cop, CPD Superintendent Eddie Johnson, thoroughly ripped actor Jussie Smolett for “dragging Chicago’s reputation through the mud” and for using the “symbolism” of a noose for his own personal gain.
Supt. Johnson held a press conference on Thursday morning and totally slammed the actor for his claims that he was the victim of a hate crime in downtown Chicago last month.
In no uncertain terms, Supt. Johnson criticized Smollett for his lies. In fact, it was pretty refreshing to see the Chicago police taking these accusations head on with a straightforward rebuke instead of talking around the edges of the matter.
Johnson called out the actor for taking advantage of the civil rights struggle for his own personal financial gain and even called out Smollett’s supporters. He even slammed Democrat presidential candidates for falling for something “choreographed by an actor.”
“I know the racial divide that exists here,” Johnson said during his news conference. “I know how hard it’s been for our city and our nation to come together. I also know the disparities, and I know their history.”
“The accusation within this phony attack received national attention for weeks,” Johnson added. “Celebrities, news commentators and even presidential candidates weighed in on something that was choreographed by an actor.”
“This announcement today recognized that ‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career,” Johnson said, adding that Smollett’s staged the attack because he was unhappy with his salary on the television show.
Johnson went on to slam Smollett’s directly: “I am left hanging my head asking ‘why?’ Why would anyone — especially an African American man — use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusation. Bogus police reports cause real harm. They do harm to every legitimate victim who is in need of support by police and investigators as well as the citizens of this city … I’m offended by what happened and I am also angry.”
“We gave Mr. Smollett the benefit of the doubt until the 47th hour of the 48 hours we could hold those two individuals,” Johnson said. “When I said he was being treated as a victim, that’s the absolute truth.”
“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,” Johnson said. “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.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.