In late January of 2019, “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett reported being attacked in the early morning hours in what Chicago police initially called a possible hate crime. In the weeks following the attacks, more details began to emerge that cast doubt on his version of events. “Persons of interests” suddenly became “witnesses” who went before a grand jury and a felony disorderly conduct charge was made against the actor. Smollett quickly became a suspect instead of the victim and was arrested on suspicion of filing a false police report less than a month after the attack.
Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson said Smollett staged the attack. According to CNN (below), “Smollett first ‘attempted to gain attention by sending a false letter that relied on racial, homophobic and political language,’ an apparent reference to a letter sent to the "Empire" set in the days before the attack. ‘When that didn't work, Smollett paid $3,500 to stage this attack and drag Chicago's reputation through the mud in the process,’ Johnson said. ‘And why? The stunt was orchestrated by Smollett because he was dissatisfied with his salary. So, he concocted a story about being attacked.’ Johnson said Smollett ‘took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career.’”
About two weeks later, Smollett was indicted on 16 counts of felony disorderly conduct by a Cook County grand jury. In a dramatic twist, prosecutors dropped all charges against Smollett. But that didn’t stop others from taking aim last week.
At last week’s NAACP Awards, Chris Rock scolded Smollett. Then, SNL had a go at it in one of their skits.
Do you believe that justice was served or have you lost faith?
In a recent article by USA Today (below), former prosecutor Patrick Collins said:
“If you’re not going to pursue a case you normally don’t charge it. You’re not going to make a decision to notpursue a case post-indictment. You would do that pre-indictment. Once you indict, there’s a compelling argument that on behalf of the citizens of this county, you to pursue it unless there’s something that has changed and that does happen. Cases fall apart sometimes. Witnesses recant, evidence that you thought was solid can become less solid,” he said. The case being dispensed without any discussions with Chicago PD at a high level, was surprising he said. “I think that’s surprising. Politics has taken over and a lot of people are seeing this through the prism of politics. Community service and fines, those are typically done after sentencing, not before. Similarly situated defendants who have committed similarly situated crimes should be treated similarly by the system. I think that’s ultimately, the question that needs to be answered so that we all have confidence in the criminal justice system.”
Based on what we know, do you agree/disagree? Do you have confidence in the criminal justice system?
For a comprehensive timeline of this case, visit: https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/15/entertainment/jussie-smollett-attack-details/index.html
His case explained: