A former Chicago police detective on Tuesday testified in the Jussie Smollett trial that police worked hard to substantiate the actor’s story of a racist, homophobic attack.
Smollett told police two masked men approached him as he was walking home on Jan. 29, 2019, and “made racist and homophobic insults, beat him and looped a noose around his neck before fleeing,” Fox News has reported.
However, the account has since been disputed by the two men Smollett allegedly paid to conduct the “racist and homophobic” assault — Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo.
Smollett faces six felony counts of disorderly conduct related to making false statements to police, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Michael Theis, who was the lead detective investigating Smollett’s allegations, said Chicago police devoted more than 3,000 hours to investigating Smollett’s claims and that police “absolutely” did not rush to judgment, according to WXIA-TV.
He said police collected all manner of videos, canvassed the area, and examined phone records.
Theis said Smollett would not consent to a DNA test.
Smollett told the police that one of his attackers was white, Theis testified.
And police were determined to find the men responsible, Theis said.
“This was horrible. I mean the crime was a hate crime, but a horrible hate crime. There was a noose, there was bleach,” Theis said according to the Sun-Times. “It was local news, it was national news, international news. Everyone wanted to know what happened, from the mayor on down, everybody wanted answers.”
Theis said police at first believed Smollett was a victim.
As the investigation continued, police “determined that the alleged hate crime was actually a staged event and that it did not occur,” Theis said, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The Osundairo brothers are black.
“To this day, has Mr. Smollett ever come clean about this hate crime?” Theis was asked by deputy special prosecutor Samuel Mendenhall, according to the New York Post.
“Not that I’m aware of,” Theis replied.
Defense attorney Nenye Uche said during opening statements late Monday that the two brothers attacked Smollett because they did not like him.
“Jussie Smollett is a real victim,” Uche said.
Special prosecutor Dan Webb saw it differently.
“When he reported the fake hate crime, that was a real crime,” Webb said.
If convicted, Smollett could face up to three years in prison, but probation would be a more likely sentence, according to The Associated Press.
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