The Chicago Police Department held a conference regarding actor Jussie Smollett and his arrest on Thursday, February 21. The Empire star turned himself in early Thursday morning after he was charged with disorderly conduct for filing a false police report.
“Empire actor Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career,” the Chicago Police Department superintendent Eddie Johnson said during the press conference.
“Bogus police reports cause real harm. They do harm to every legitimate victim who needs support.”
He continued, “This publicity stunt is a scar that Chicago didn’t earn and certainly didn’t deserve.”
Johnson also explained Jussie sent himself a threatening letter back in January, but when that didn’t gain enough attention he decided to stage his attack.
He paid with a check $3,500 to the two men who attacked him because he was reportedly dissatisfied with his salary on Empire.
“I’m concerned what this means moving forward for hate crimes,” Johnson shared.
Reports in recent days claimed Jussie staged the alleged homophobic and racist attack and that he hired the two brothers who were initially named suspects in the case.
Back in January, Jussie told police two men attacked him and poured bleach on him. He said they also put a rope around his neck and yelled a number of racist and homophobic slurs.
If Jussie is found guilty, he faces up to three years in prison.
Jussie’s attorneys initially released a statement after he was named a suspect maintaining his innocence.
“Like any other citizen, Mr. Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked,” they said in a statement.
“Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense.”
A reporter for CBS Chicago also tweeted out Jussie’s mug shot.
“NEW: Color booking photo of Jussie Smollett. Facing disorderly conduct stemming from filing a false police report,” Charlie De Mar wrote.
NEW: Color booking photo of Jussie Smollett.
— Charlie De Mar (@CharlieDeMar) February 21, 2019