"This is without a doubt a whitewash of justice," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel said after Jussie Smollett's charges were dropped this week. Likewise, police Superintendent Eddie Johnson believes the city is owed an apology.
After all charges against Jussie Smollett were dropped this week, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson slammed the decision and called it a “whitewash of justice.”
Emmanuel expressed his disgust over the surprise turnaround of Smollett’s case in a press conference on Tuesday. It was after the actor was relieved from the 16-count felony charge filed against him in relation to the January 29 assault he reported.
Smollett previously told authorities that he was a victim of a hate crime after he described two men attacking him near his apartment. Apart from being beaten, he said they tied a rope around his neck and poured a chemical on his face.
Following an investigation, authorities shocked the public when they accused Smollett of staging his own attack. It was based on the testimonies of his alleged aggressors who claimed the 36-year-old paid them to commit the crime. Smollett was arrested and released on a $100,000 bail. He settled ten percent upon his release.
“This is without of doubt a whitewash of justice and sends a clear message that if you’re in a position of influence and power, you’ll get treated one way, other people will be treated another way.
Short of five weeks since his arrest, Smollett’s case took another turn. On Tuesday, prosecutors dropped all charges against him with no clear explanation for the decision. According to the Cook County state attorney’s office in a statement released to the Chicago Tribune,
“After reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the case, including Mr Smollett’s volunteer service in the community and agreement to forfeit his bond to the city of Chicago, we believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case.”
"How dare him!....This is a person now who’s been let off scot-free with no sense of accountability."
Smollett’s attorneys also issued a statement to People confirming his freedom.
“Today, all criminal charges against Jussie Smollett were dropped and his record has been wiped clean of the filing of this tragic complaint against him.
“Jussie was attacked by two people he was unable to identify on January 29th. He was a victim who was vilified and made to appear as a perpetrator as a result of false and inappropriate remarks made to the public causing an inappropriate rush to judgment."
"The evidence came forward, and (the) grand jury saw the evidence, realized this was a hoax — a hoax on the city, a hoax on hate crimes, a hoax on people of good values who actually were empathetic at first. And he used that empathy for only one reason — only one reason."
Upon news of Smollett’s vindication, Mayor Emmanuel spoke at a press conference and condemned the decision.
“This is without of doubt a whitewash of justice and sends a clear message that if you’re in a position of influence and power, you’ll get treated one way, other people will be treated another way. There is no accountability in the system.
He further added that he believes Smollett is guilty of the hoax he was previously accused of. “How dare him!” he said. “This is a person now who’s been let off scot-free with no sense of accountability of the moral and ethical wrong of his actions, from top to bottom, not only to tarnish the name of the city."
He later explained,
"He said he was the victim of a hate crime, both for his sexual orientation and for being black. The evidence came forward, and (the) grand jury saw the evidence, realized this was a hoax — a hoax on the city, a hoax on hate crimes, a hoax on people of good values who actually were empathetic at first. And he used that empathy for only one reason — only one reason."
According to previous reports, Smollett's motive for staging the attack was to further his career. He was threatened by rumors of his impending exit from his show, "Empire."
Meanwhile, Chicago police superintendent Johnson is still waiting for justice to be served while expecting an apology to the city. He asked,
“Do I think justice was served? No. What do I think justice is? I think this city is still owed an apology.”
Johnson also questioned why the decision was made in secrecy.
"I’ve heard that they wanted their day in court with TV cameras so America could know the truth. And now they chose to hide behind secrecy and broker a deal to circumvent the judicial system."
Despite the outrage following their decision, prosecutors maintained they “stand by” their accusations that Smollett staged his attack. Joe Magats, first assistant's attorney said,
"This was not an exoneration. To say that he was exonerated by us or anyone is not true. We believe he did what he was charged with doing."
“Public safety is our No 1 priority. I don’t see Jussie Smollett as a threat to public safety.”
“I have been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one. I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I’ve been accused.”
“This has been an incredibly difficult time, honestly one of the worst of my entire life. But I am a man of faith, and I am a man that has knowledge of my history, and I would not bring my family, our lives or the movement through a fire like this. I just wouldn’t.”
According to Smollett’s lawyer, Patricia Brown Holmes, Smollett agreed to forfeit the $10,000 payment he initially made to cover a portion of his $100,000 bond. She also affirmed the court’s decision.
“It was the correct result in this case. We’re very happy for this result, and we are very anxious for Jussie to get on with his career and his life.”
Further, she insists "there is no deal. The state dismissed the charges."
Smollett had been relieved from his remaining scenes from his show, “Empire” following his arrest. On Tuesday, Fox Television said it was “gratified” that his charges had been dropped.