Chicago PD Superintendent Eddie Johnson is continuing to make public remarks surrounding the alleged assault of Jussie Smollett. During a recent interview on ABC, Johnson not only reiterated the department’s position that the Empire actor staged the attack, but he also said they have new evidence to support their theory.
“I can tell you this, Robin, there’s a lot more evidence that hasn’t been presented yet that does not support the version he gave,” Johnson told Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts on Monday. “There’s still a lot of physical evidence, video evidence and testimony that just simply doesn’t support his version of what happened.”
Although Johnson did not go into detail about the new evidence, he did say for brothers Olabinjo (“Ola”) and Abimbola (“Abel”) Osundairo were convinced to speak against Smollett by their own attorney, Gloria Schmidt.
Although the Chicago PD investigation is ongoing, Johnson told Roberts he is speaking so candidly about the case because he wants to set the record straight about his city.
“The city of Chicago has its issues, the Chicago Police Department has its issues with racism and excessive force and all of that, and I’m acutely aware of that. But we didn’t earn this particular incident and I just refuse to let us have to take that shot if I have evidence to the contrary. So I just want people to understand that it’s a damaging thing to do to a city and to a police department, so it’s my responsibility to ensure that the record gets set straight.”
Johnson also said that when Smollett first made the report, he did everything in his power to treat him as the victim.
“I refused to let CPD characterize him as a suspect unless we had concrete evidence,” Johnson said.
“The entire time that we investigated the incident he was treated like a victim,” he added.
Johnson also reminded everyone that Smollett still has the presumption of innocence until his day in court, which will be in March, “if he chooses to go that route.”
After Smollett turned himself in on a felony charge of filing a false police report, the actor posted $100,000 bond. Smollett has maintained his innocence and his attorneys released a statement saying he “feels betrayed by a system that apparently wants to skip due process and proceed directly to sentencing."
On Friday, Empire announced that it would remove Smollett’s character from the remaining two episodes of Season 5.
(Photo: ABC News "Good Morning America")