In the wake of Tuesday’s news that all charges against Jussie Smollett have been dropped, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel had harsh words for the Empire actor.
“I’d like to remind everybody that a grand jury indicted this individual based on only a piece of the evidence that the police had collected in that period of time,” Emanuel told reporters on Tuesday. “To use the principles and values behind [the Hate Crimes Prevention Act] to self-promote your career is a cost that comes to all the individuals.”
He continued, “Gay men and women who come forward and say they were a victim of a hate crime will now be doubted. People of faith… will be a victim of hate crimes. People of all walks of life, backgrounds, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation — this now casts a shadow on whether they’re telling the truth, and he did this all in the name of self-promotion. This is a whitewash of justice.”
Chicago PD Superintendent Eddie Johnson, who previously criticized Smollett in February after evidence suggested that he staged a hate crime against himself, maintained his stance on Tuesday.
“You all know where I stand on this. Do I think justice was served? No,” Johnson said. “This city is still owed an apology… [Smollett] chose to hide behind secrecy and broker a deal to circumvent the judicial system. My job as a police officer is to investigate an incident, gather evidence, gather facts and present them to the state’s attorney. That’s what we did. I stand behind the detectives’ investigation.”
Johnson went on to say that “it’s Mr. Smollett who committed this hoax, period. If he wanted to clear his name, the way to do that was in a court of law.”
On March 8, Smollett had been indicted on 16 felony counts related to his alleged staging of a hate crime in January. After prosecutors dropped all charges on Tuesday, Smollett gave an emotional statement to reporters, maintaining that he has been “truthful and consistent on every single level since Day One.”
Watch excerpts from Johnson and Emanuel’s press conference below: