Emotions are high following reports from the Chicago Police Department that Jussie Smollett staged his January 28 attack. Reactions from political commentators, social media users, and celebrities close to Smollett have opened up conversations about hate crimes, the trustworthiness of police and the power of the media.
As we reported earlier and according to Jussie’s interview with Good Morning America last week, the Empire star says he was picking up food from Subway one night when someone called him a racist and homophobic slur. Jussie was then allegedly attacked by two masked men who poured an unknown substance on him and put a noose around his neck.
The alleged incident sparked social media outrage and at first, the CPD reported that they were treating Smollett like a victim.
But now, according to ABC7, police are saying Smollett paid two Nigerian brothers $3,500 to stage his attack. The 36-year-old is now being charged with one count of felony disorderly conduct for filing a false police report.
Jussie turned himself in to authorities on Thursday and if convicted, he can face up to three years in prison and substantial fines. In a press conference, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Smollett staged the incident because he was “dissatisfied with his salary.”
Jussie allegedly staged his attack with the Osundairo brothers — one of them was Smollett’s personal trainer while the other one was an extra on Empire. Surveillance footage shows the brothers purchasing the ski masks allegedly used in the attack, and it also shows them buying a red ball cap and gloves.
Even before the alleged attack, police claim Jussie faked a letter he received on the Chicago set of Empire that included racist and homophobic statements. The letter, which was sent on January 22, is currently in the FBI crime lab for analysis. According to an ABC7 legal analyst, Jussie could also face charges for the letter if it’s proven to be a hoax, and he could possibly serve up to five years in prison.
All this updated information has caused a roller coaster of emotions from people.
20th Century Fox and Fox Entertainment released a statement Thursday morning reading:
“We understand the seriousness of this matter and we respect the legal process. We are evaluating the situation and we are considering our options.”
Meanwhile, some people are already labeling Smollett as guilty even before a trial has started:
Others are already hoping he’ll see prison time if found guilty…
Then, of course, people like Trump used Jussie’s case as another excuse to defend MAGA minions.
But despite how bleak everything seems, there are still people supporting Jussie no matter the outcome of the case.
Many people continue to remain supportive, especially because of the Chicago Police Department’s long history of corruption. The cover-up of Laquan McDonald‘s murder by Chicago officials and the almost 20 years of Chicago police torture cases serve as two examples of CPD’s corruption.
Some people even gave personal examples of not being treated fairly by the CPD…
Superintendent Eddie Johnson also annoyed a lot of people when he spoke about the Jussie case, saying, “I just wish that the families of gun violence in this city got this much attention because that’s who really deserves the amount of attention that we’re giving to this particular incident.”
Ironcially, CPD has had a low homicide clearance rate even before the Jussie case. According to ABC7, only a reported 17 percent of murders were solved in 2017 alone. So once again, the CPD has a history of not being good, and some social media users let this be known.
Meanwhile, Jussie’s family still seems to be supporting him, with his siblings Jazz, Jake and Jocqui showing up to Chicago court on Thursday for Jussie’s bail hearing.
Even some of Jussie’s celebrity friends are continuing to keep him in their prayers. Tyler Perry spoke on Jussie’s situation on Facebook and used the disappearance of Terrance Williams and Felipe Santos as an intro:
“How I wish that the disappearance of Terrance Williams and Felipe Santos could get half as much attention as this Jussie Smollett thing. I have personally spoken to Jussie, and he is adamant that he’s telling the truth. Also, everyone that I know who knows him says that he is not the kind of person who would make up such a horrible and awful thing. Yet the evidence seems to state otherwise. I’m lost for words. To stoke fears and raise racial tensions is wrong in every situation on ALL SIDES! Yet my prayers are still with him and his family and our Nation. CAN WE PLEASE STOP THE HATE!”
Sides will surely continue to be taken. But Jussie’s defense urges people to acknowledge due process before coming to any conclusions. In a statement, Smollett’s lawyer wrote:
“Like any other citizen, Mr. Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked. Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense.”
The saga continues.