“Empire” actor arrested for staging alleged hate crime

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“Empire” actor arrested for staging alleged hate crime

(Photo credit to wikimedia commons)

(Photo credit to wikimedia commons)

(Photo credit to wikimedia commons)

(Photo credit to wikimedia commons)

By Samantha Calick, News Editor

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Jussie Smollett, “Empire” actor, was arrested for allegedly filing a false report that he was a victim of a hate crime attack in Chicago on Jan. 29. He claimed he was assaulted by two masked men who called him racist and homophobic slurs, that they had poured bleach over him and put a noose around his neck and yelled “MAGA country”, which references President Donald Trump’s campaign.

What happened?

  • Smollett contacts the Chicago Police claiming he was attacked by two masked men who shouted racist and homophobic slurs at him.
  • On Feb. 4, Chicago Police releases the initial incident report.
  • Investigators tracked two “persons of interest” that were caught on surveillance at the time of the alleged attack. The two men were placed under arrest and taken in for questioning.
  • On Feb. 15, the two men are released without charges after agreeing to cooperate with the authorities. According to an ABC News article, the men claimed that Smollett paid them to stage the crime after the “Empire” show’s studio received a racist letter that did not get enough attention.
  • On Feb. 21, Smollett turns himself in to the Chicago Police and is charged with felony disorderly conduct for filing a false report.

What Smollett said:

  • Smollett is maintaining his innocence as he faces charges accused of filing a false police report.
  • Smollett’s attorneys have spoken out against the police arguing that their client feels betrayed that the justice system wants to skip due process and proceed directly to sentencing.

What the Police said:

  • Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, claimed the evidence the police uncovered in the investigation did not corroborate the description Smollett gave regarding his alleged attack.
  • According to a CNN article, authorities say Smollett was dissatisfied with his salary on the show and wanted further publicity.
  • “This staged attack has dragged Chicago’s reputation through the mud,” Police Chief Johnson said.

Smollett appeared in court on Thursday, Feb. 21. He was released after posting bond for $100,000.