By: Jessica Sager – FoxNews.com – March 26, 2019
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel stood shoulder-to-shoulder with his city’s police force Tuesday afternoon, denouncing prosecutors for dropping charges against “Empire” star Jussie Smollett and slamming the episode as a “whitewash of justice.”
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson and Emanuel said they were not only furious with the outcome of Tuesday’s surprise hearing but also blindsided by the decision itself, with the officials only learning Smollett wouldn’t face charges for allegedly faking a hate crime at the same time the public found out.
“Where is the accountability in the system? You cannot have – because of a person’s position – one set of rules applies to them and another set of rules apply to everyone else,” Emanuel said. “Our officers did hard work day in and day out, countless hours working to unwind what actually happened that night. The city saw its reputation dragged through the mud…It’s not just the officers’ work, but the work of the grand jury that made a decision based on only a sliver of the evidence [presented]. Because of the judge’s decision, none of that evidence will ever be made public.”
Meantime, First Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Magats told reporters he still believed Smollett filed a false police report. He said prosecutors “stand behind the investigation and the facts,” adding, “this was not an exoneration.”
Emanuel also said: “[This case] sends a clear message that if you’re in a position of influence and power you’ll be treated one way and if you’re not you’ll be treated another way.”
Johnson blasted the prosecution for not consulting with cops and hinted the episode could further strain the relationship between the department and prosecutors.
“I don’t know what’s unusual for the state’s attorney but we found out about when you all did,” Johnson said. “Prosecutors have their discretion of course, we still have to work with the state’s attorneys office — We’ll have conversations after this.”
But Johnson made sure to add, unequivocally: “At the end of the day it was Smollett who committed this hoax.”
Magats later told WLS that Smollett faced accountability by doing community service and forfeiting his $10,000 bond payment. He called it a fair and just outcome.
Chicago police previously accused Smollett of sending himself hate mail to the “Empire” set as well. The FBI had been investigating the letter which reportedly was laced with an innocuous white powder and “MAGA” messages. If convicted of mail fraud, Smollett still could face up to 10 years behind bars.
Earlier Tuesday, the Cook County State Attorney’s office announced that all 16 felony counts against Smollett, 36, were dropped and the record in the case was sealed. Smollett voluntarily forfeited his $10,000 bond and Smollett’s attorney, Patricia Brown-Holmes, said the funds would likely go to the city of Chicago.
Brown-Holmes also admonished Chicago cops for asserting at the conclusion of their investigation that Smollett’s tale of being attacked by two Trump supporters had been a hoax. She said police needed to “investigate claims” before presuming suspects’ guilt and trying them in the press.
Johnson told press in February of the case: “I’m left hanging my head and asking, ‘Why?’ Why would anyone, especially an African-American man, use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations? How could someone look at the hatred and suffering associated with that symbol…how can an individual who has been embraced by the city of Chicago turn around and slap everyone in this city by making this false claim? Bogus police reports cause real harm.”
Smollett has maintained his innocence and previously pleaded not guilty to all 16 counts against him.
Smollett told police he was attacked by two masked men as he was walking home from a Chicago Subway sandwich shop at around 2 a.m on Jan. 29. The actor, who is black and openly gay, said the masked men beat him, made derogatory comments and yelled “This is MAGA country” — an apparent reference to President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again” — during an attack that lasted less than a minute.
To see the remainder of this article, click read more.