Jussie Smollett Just Needed To Apologize, Says Ex-Chicago Police Chief
Former Empire star Jussie Smollett could have gotten off the hook if he apologized for making a false report to the Chicago police about being a victim of a racist homophobic attack in 2019.
“I want people to understand this. This was not the most heinous crime of the century. He didn’t kill anybody. He didn’t blow up a building,” the former head of the Chicago Police Department Eddie Johnson said, the New York Post reported, citing Johnson’s interview on Friday (Dec. 10) with News Nation’s Morning in America.
“We would have been more than happy with just an apology at the end of all that we uncovered but for some reason, he just wanted to keep going down this road that he was actually a victim,” Johnson continued.
A jury on Thursday (Dec. 9) found Smollett guilty on five counts of felony disorderly conduct. He was acquitted on one count of felony disorderly conduct.
On Jan. 29, 2019, the actor alleged that two men assaulted him in a racist and homophobic attack while he was returning home from a Subway sandwich shop in Chicago. Smollett claimed that he was beaten, called racist and homophobic slurs and had a rope put around his neck.
Johnson, who is Black, said a red flag went up for him when he saw a video of Smollett still wearing a noose around his neck at home after the alleged crime. It was a signal that the actor was lying.
Chicago’s former top cop said, “I have to be honest, when I first saw the video of him in his apartment with the noose around his neck I was concerned because I don’t think there’s many Black people in America with a noose around their neck and wouldn’t immediately take it off.”
“And the way he was so nonchalant handling it gave me cause for concern,” Johnson added. “But I would not let the police department make him an offender until the evidence just got to be so overwhelming.”
Smollett’s Subway tuna sandwich also raised suspicion. It made no sense to Johnson that the sandwich wasn’t smashed during the alleged scuffle in which the assailants supposedly poured bleach on Smollett and beat him up.
“This guy had the sandwich in his hand, and it had never been touched. That was a real tipping point to us that something was amiss,” Johnson explained.
During the trial, Special Prosecutor Dan Webb accused Smollett of hiring brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo to stage the alleged attack. In their testimony, the Osundairos corroborated the prosecution’s theory. They said Smollett crafted the scheme for publicity and paid them $3,500 to stage the assault.
Johnson, who was fired in 2019 for unethical conduct unrelated to the Smollett case, said authorities, including then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel, were livid that Smollett wasted police resources.
According to the Associated Press, Smollett faces up to three years in prison, which is unlikely. Instead, the judge would probably take into consideration that he doesn’t have a criminal record, and no one was seriously injured and sentence him to probation and community service.