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Chicago PD: ‘Shameful … Despicable’ How Jussie Smollett ‘Smeared This City’

Posted on | February 21, 2019 | Comments Off on Chicago PD: ‘Shameful … Despicable’ How Jussie Smollett ‘Smeared This City’


America just got a lesson: Don’t ever mess with Eddie Johnson.

The Chicago Police Superintendent was visibly angry in a press conference this morning, denouncing the “shameful” and “despicable” way Jussie Smollett “smeared this city” with a hate-crime hoax Johnson said was motivated by the actor’s desire for a higher TV salary.

UPDATE 11:12 a.m. ET: The superintendent and Chicago’s top detective Edward Wodnicki laid out the case of how Smollett, “dissatisfied” with his salary on the Fox series Empire, first mailed a fake hate letter to himself and, when that failed to get the reaction he had hoped for, paid Nigerian brothers Abimbola “Abel” Osundairo and Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo to stage an attack on him in the wee hours of Jan. 29. Even though police had “questions” about Smollett’s tale from very early in their investigation, Johnson said, they gave Smollett “the benefit of the doubt” as a potential victim until the Osundairo brothers confessed their role Friday.

“But when we discovered the actual motive, quite frankly, it pissed everybody off,” Johnson said in the press conference.

UPDATE 11:26 a.m. ET: There was never a chance that Smollett could have gotten away with the hoax, as Wodnicki detailed how Chicago detectives examined hours of video surveillance, interviewed more than a hundred potential witnesses, and executed more than than search warrants and subpoenas to solve the crime. Tracing the movements of the Osundairo brothers before and after the staged “attack,” investigators were able to locate the cabs and ride-shares they had used, which led them to identify the suspects, who had boarded a flight to Nigeria from O’Hare Airport hours after the incident. One of the Osundairo brothers had been an extra on Empire, and both were acquainted with Smollett.

UPDATE 11:41 a.m. ET: While detectives in Chicago had to wait for the suspects to return from Nigeria Feb. 13 before questioning them, Smollett’s fake hate crime received nationwide attention.

“Celebrities, news commentators and even presidential candidates weighed in on something that was choreographed by an actor,” Johnson said at the press conference, contrasting this publicity with the usual indifference toward Chicago’s violent crime problem. “I wish the families of gun violence [victims] got this kind of attention.”

UPDATE 12:03 p.m. ET: Smollett claimed he was attacked by two white men who called him racial and homophobic slurs and shouted “This is MAGA country!” — a reference to President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan. This claim of a political motive sparked suspicion by Michelle Malkin and other conservative commentators, who wondered why two white Republicans would be in downtown Chicago at 2 a.m. on a night when a “polar vortex” brought sub-zero temperatures to the city. As I wrote in my Monday column for The American Spectator:

Anyone with common sense could see that Jussie Smollett’s story didn’t add up, but evidently none of the Democrats running for president in 2020 has any common sense. New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and California Sen. Kamala Harris used almost identical language in proclaiming Smollett the victim of “an attempted modern-day lynching.” Former Vice President Joe Biden declared: “We must stand up and demand that we no longer give this hate safe harbor; that homophobia and racism have no place on our streets or in our hearts.” Smollett was the victim of “the latest of too many hate crimes against LGBTQ people and people of color,” said New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, adding: “We are all responsible for condemning this behavior and every person who enables or normalizes it.” Other leading Democrats joined this chorus of condemnation. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the “racist, homophobic attack… an affront to our humanity,” while New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez asserted that the attack on Smollett was indicative of “the rise of hate crimes.” No Democrat more explicitly pointed the finger of blame than California Rep. Maxine Waters who said “this is happening for a reason.… It’s coming from the President of the United States. He’s dog-whistling every day.”

UPDATE 12:21 p.m. ET: During his Thursday morning press conference, Chicago’s top cop focused his anger on the perpetrator of the hoax. “I’m offended by what has happened and I’m also angry,” Johnson said, condemning Smollett for faking a “publicity stunt” that had dragged “Chicago’s reputation through the mud.”

“We do not, nor will we ever, tolerate hate in this city,” the superintendent said, expressing outrage that Smollett “took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career.”

UPDATE 12:34 p.m. ET: The final word, from the Commander-in-Chief:






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