The Chicago Police Department, including Superintendent Eddie Johnson, is reportedly “furious” that all charges have been dropped against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett in relation to the police report he filed in late January alleging he had been the victim of a hate crime.
Last month, Johnson told reporters that Smollett staged a racist and anti-gay attack against himself in the early morning hours of Jan. 29 in downtown Chicago.
The police chief recounted that the television star first sought attention through a false death threat letter he wrote and sent to himself at his place of work “that relied on racial, homophobic and political language.”
When that failed to gain traction in the media, Smollett paid two African-American men $3,500 to stage the attack. Smollett told police that at least one of the attackers was white and shouted, “This is MAGA country,” a reference to President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan.
Johnson said Smollett’s motive was to increase his public profile in a bid to get a pay raise.
“When we discovered the actual motive, quite frankly it pissed everybody off,” the superintendent said. “Those are resources and time spent that we will never get back.”
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s office charged the actor with disorderly conduct for filing a false police report. The class 4 felony carried a potential jail time of one to three years.
Lawyers for Smollett released a statement Tuesday, saying all 16 felony counts related to making a false report had been dropped by the prosecutors office, which is led by State Attorney Kimberly Foxx.
Fox affiliate WFLD-TV reporter Rafer Weigel, who has been covering the Smollett story closely since January, tweeted, “I can tell you that @Chicago_Police are furious over SA Kim Foxx’s decision to drop all charges against #JussieSmollett.”
— Rafer Weigel (@RaferWeigel) March 26, 2019
Charlie De Mar, with CBS affiliate WBBM-TV, added that sources informed him, Johnson is “furious” and received no forewarning that the decision had been made.
Sources tell CBS2 Chicago Police Supt. Johnson is “furious.”
He had no heads up this was going to happen.@cbschicago
— Charlie De Mar (@CharlieDeMar) March 26, 2019
The Daily Wire’s Emily Zanotti wrote that Johnson was “blindsided” by Foxx’s decision.
Sources inside the Chicago Police Department tell me that Superintendent Eddie Johnson is “furious” over this development, and that he and CPD were “blindsided” by Foxx’s decision.
— Emily Zanotti (@emzanotti) March 26, 2019
Fox News’ Matt Finn tweeted, “Chicago police detective tells @FoxNews ‘We have a lot more evidence than we told the media about and we were fully prepared to go to trial. We’re very angry this happened.’”
The Chicago Sun-Times reported in February that Foxx had recused herself from the Smollett investigation, citing “familiarity with potential witnesses.”
“Shortly after the incident occurred in late January, State’s Attorney Foxx had conversations with a family member of Jussie Smollett about the incident and their concerns, and facilitated a connection to the Chicago Police Department who were investigating the incident,” Robert Foley, a senior adviser to Foxx, said in a statement to the Times.
Kim Foxx recused herself. Who put her back in charge?https://t.co/2Nd7kR2NLJ
— Mary Pat Ryan (@MaryPatRyan) March 26, 2019
The Times reported earlier this month that Foxx tried to persuade Johnson to turn the investigation over to the FBI.
The call came after Tina Tchen, a Chicago attorney and former chief of staff for former first lady Michelle Obama, contacted Foxx.
Tchen also passed Foxx’s number on to a relative of Smollett, who reached out to the prosecutor. These are the conversations Foxx had referenced in her initial decision to recuse herself from the matter.
In their Tuesday letter responding to Foxx’s decision to drop the charges, Smollett’s attorneys contended their client was the victim of a “rush to judgment.”
“Jussie and many others were hurt by these unfair and unwarranted actions. This entire situation is a reminder that there should never be an attempt to prove a case in the court of public opinion. That is wrong. It is a reminder that a victim, in this case Jussie, deserves dignity and respect. Dismissal of charges against the victim in this case was the only just result.
“Jussie is relieved to have this situation behind him and is very much looking forward to getting back to focusing on his family, friends and career.”
The Associated Press reported that the FBI is still investigating the threatening letter that Smollett allegedly sent to the Fox studio where he works.
Update: At a news conference on Tuesday, Johnson told reporters, “Do I think justice was served? No,” adding, “I think this city is still owed an apology… I stand behind the detectives’ investigation.”
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel hammered Smollett for still claiming to be innocent.
“Mr. Smollett is still saying that he is innocent,” Emanuel said. “Still running down the Chicago Police Department. How dare him? How dare him? This is not the superintendent’s word against his.
“The grand jury (saw) a sliver of the evidence (and) came to a conclusion, as did the state’s attorney’s office… And even after this whitewash, still no sense of ownership of what he’s done. He says, in fact, that he is the wronged in this case.”
JUST IN: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel: “Mr. Smollett is still saying that he is innocent, still running down the Chicago Police Department. How dare him?”
— Evan McMurry (@evanmcmurry) March 26, 2019
“Is there no decency in this man?” the mayor asked.
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