Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Thursday that law enforcement was “pissed” upon learning Empire actor Jussie Smollett staged a hate crime against himself because he was unhappy with his FOX salary.
“When we discovered the actual motive, quite frankly, it pissed everybody off because we have to invest valuable resources,” explained Johnson.
"When we discovered the actual motive, quite frankly, it pissed everybody off," Chicago police chief admitted, adding his department had to invest lots of "valuable resources" during the investigation https://t.co/MfyQuQi1uf pic.twitter.com/KoBUqwoQOI
— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 21, 2019
Smollett faces felony charges for disorderly conduct and filing a false police report, officials said. The charges stem from a Jan. 29 report in which Smollett, 36, said attackers poured what he believed was bleach all over his body and put a noose around his neck while making slurs about his race and sexuality.
Johnson told reporters Thursday Smollett took advantage of the city’s pain, anger and racism in a bid to promote his career. He said Chicago had embraced Smollett after the reported attack — and he, in turn, “slapped” it in the face.
“I’m offended by what happened and I am also angry,” he said. “Bogus police reports cause real harm. They cause harm to every legitimate victim. This publicity stunt was something Chicago didn’t earn and certainly didn’t deserve.”
Smollett’s attorneys have denied the actor was complicit in the attack. They said a statement he “enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly where there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked.”
“Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense,” they added.
Smollett was scheduled for a bond hearing at 1:30 p.m. CST Thursday. The case will go to a grand jury. Subpoenas have been issued for the phone records of Smollett, his manager and others.
Police said Smollett paid two brothers $3,500 to stage the attack and “drag Chicago’s reputation through the mud.” Detectives treated Smollett like a victim throughout the investigation, Johnson said, until they learned otherwise.
The United Press International contributed to this report.