Thursday Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson criticized celebrities, the media and presidential candidates for commenting on “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett’s allegedly staged hate crime.
Johnson said, “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 and see an opportunity to manipulate that symbol to further his own public profile? How can an individual who has been embraced by the city of Chicago turn around and slap everyone in this city in the face by making these false claims? Bogus police reports cause real harm. They do harm to every legitimate victim who is in need of support by police and investigators as well as the citizens of this city. Chicago hosts one of the largest pride parades in the world, and we’re proud of that as a police department and also as a city. We do not, nor do we ever, tolerate hate in our city, whether that hate is based on an individual’s sexual orientation, race or anything else. So I’m offended by what has happened, and I’m also angry. I love the city of Chicago and the Chicago Police Department, warts and all. But this publicity stunt was a scar that Chicago didn’t earn and certainly didn’t deserve.”
He continued, “To make things worse, the accusations within this phony attack received national attention for weeks. Celebrities, news commentators and even presidential candidates weighed in on something that was choreographed by an actor.”
He added, “First, Smollett attempted to gain attention by sending a false letter that relied on racial, homophobic and political language. When that didn’t work, Smollett paid $3,500 to stage this attack and drag Chicago’s reputation through the mud in the process. And why? The stunt was orchestrated by Smollett because he was dissatisfied with his salary. So he concocted a story about being attacked.”
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