The mayor of Chicago and leadership within the Chicago police department voiced outraged against prosecutors for dropping all 16 felony charges against Jussie Smollett on Tuesday after he was initially accused of staging an attack on himself.
After the charges were dropped, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson spoke to reporters following a graduation ceremony for new and promoted CPD officers at Navy Pier, reported NBC News.
“From top to bottom, this is not on the level,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel told NBC reporter David Li. “At the end of the day, it’s Mr. Smollett that committed this false claim.”
Police Supt. Eddie Johnson revealed his department was blindsided by the Cook County State's Attorney's Office's decision to drop charges against Smollett. During the investigation, Johnson spoke openly about his belief that the actor staged the “hate crime” attack on himself.
While Johnson and Emanuel said they were mad at prosecutors, their harshest words were aimed at Smollett. "Is there no decency in this man?" Emanuel asked.
Emanuel also expressed concern that Smollett’s case could interfere with other hate crime cases. The mayor referenced his time working as chief of staff for the Obama administration and helping to pass the anti-hate crime Matthew Shepard Act, named in honor of a gay man beaten to death in Wyoming.
"You have a person using hate crime laws that are on the books to protect people who are minorities from violence, to then turn around and use those laws to advance your career and your financial reward?" the mayor asked while speaking with reporters.
While Emanuel and Johnson reserved their anger for Smollett, the Fraternal Order of Police criticized Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and renewed its call for a federal investigation into Foxx’s “interference” in the case, reported the Chicago Sun-Times.
“The conduct of her office from the very beginning of this cases was highly, highly suspicious,” Martin Preib, the FOP’s second vice president, told the Chicago Sun-Times.
“The entire country is outraged by it. The evidence is overwhelming that he was legitimately charged in this case. This decision [to drop the charges] appears to be utterly arbitrary, capricious and suspicious,” he added.
When the case first began, the FOP demanded a federal investigation to determine whether Foxx acted inappropriately when she tried to persuade Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson to transfer the investigation of Smollett’s claim of being the target of a hate crime to the FBI.
Now, the FOP has renewed the call for a federal investigation into what they call Foxx’s political “interference” on behalf of the Smollett family. Preib believes the state’s attorney’s office’s decision to drop the charges, “only gives more foundation to our claims.”
Foxx initially requested that Johnson transfer the case to the FBI after Tina Tchen, a Chicago attorney and former chief of staff for former first lady Michelle Obama, contacted Foxx personally, according to emails and text messages provided by Foxx to the Sun-Times.
Foxx then recused herself from the investigation after facilitating conversations between Smollett’s family and the Chicago Police Department.
When Preib of the FOP was asked why he believes charges were dropped, he responded, “I have my dark suspicions, but it’s not appropriate to give voice to them, just yet.”
(Screenshot via YouTube/NBCNews)