Smollett Attack Was 'Publicity Stunt,' Top Cop Says

NEW YORK CITY- MAY 16 Jussie Smollett arrives at the FOX 2016 Programming Presentation red carpet arrivals at the Wollman Rink in Central Park on Monday

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said on Thursday during a press conference. They noted that at the time of the incident, they joined other activist groups in supporting Smollett and condemning the alleged hate crime. Smollett, who is African-American and gay, said the attackers shouted homophobic and racist slurs, as well as "This is MAGA country", and placed a rope around his neck. CNN reports that the brothers told police that Smollett had paid them $3,500 to stage the attack.

This image provided by the Chicago Police Department and taken from surveillance video shows two people of interest in an attack on "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett walking along a street in the Streeterville neighborhood of Chicago, early Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019. The scratches and bruising Smollett had on his face were "most likely self-inflicted", Johnson said. Some media reports suggest Smollett staged the attack because of his alleged confusion about being written out of Empire. He added, "We know in America that bigoted and biased attacks are on the rise in a serious way".

With Smollett now accused of staging a racist, anti-gay attack on himself, the case seemed to inflame political tensions even more while creating potentially damaging consequences for genuine hate crime victims in the future. "I am beyond disappointed and extremely infuriated at Smollett's brazen, devious, and disgraceful behavior", Rush said in a statement. "And Jussie should stop playing games with the people if he's wrong because he owes everybody in Chicago an apology due to the fact that we have people that are shot every day in Chicago - people that are killed at least every other day in Chicago".

Police said Smollett planned the hoax because he was unhappy with his salary and wanted to promote his career.

A week prior to Smollett's arrest, police in Chicago raided the homes of Ola and Abel Osundairo in relation to the case.




"It's really important that survivors do feel they can come forward and that this doesn't diminish their voices", Gillibrand said.

Smollett could face up to three years in prison if he is found guilty, but his lawyers have vowed to "mount an aggressive defence" against the charge. On Thursday, he tweeted to Smollett: "What about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and unsafe comments!?" "We will continue to offer our love and support to the members of our community who have been victims of hate crimes".

The Chicago police chief began his news conference Thursday by acknowledging the throng of reporters in front of him and declaring, "I just wish that the families of gun violence got this much attention". TMZ reports that Smollett told police he has a drug issue during his arrest.

"There was never a thought in their mind, we would track them down", Johnson said of the brothers.

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