- A spokesman for the Chicago Police Department told INSIDER it is not considering charging Jussie Smollett with making a false police report, two weeks after the “Empire” star said he was attacked.
- “Why would we charge a victim of a crime with a crime? That makes no sense,” the spokesperson said on Tuesday. “He is a victim of a crime that doesn’t belong in our city.”
- The comments contradict multiple reports citing the police superintendent saying the department is considering charging Smollett if the case proves to be a hoax.
- The police are seeking a full version of Smollett’s call records from the day of the attack after Smollett provided them with a redacted PDF copy.
Two weeks after Jussie Smollett said he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack, the Chicago Police Department denied reports that it is considering charging the “Empire” actor with making a false report.
“Why would we charge a victim of a crime with a crime? That makes no sense,” Carroll Michael, an officer working in the Chicago Police Department communications office, told INSIDER on Tuesday. “He is a victim of a crime that doesn’t belong in our city.”
In January, Smollett, who is black and gay, said two white men yelled “Aren’t you that f—ing ‘Empire’ n—–?,” put a noose around his neck, poured bleach on him, and screamed “This is MAGA country!”
Chicago Police did not find videos of the attack, and said they have not identified any suspects. Multiple outlets had reported that police superintendent Eddie Johnson said he is considering charging Smollett with making a false report if the case proves to be a hoax.
But Michael denied that the police department is treating Smollett as anything but a victim, and said reports to the contrary were false.
“False report charges, huh?” Michael told INSIDER. “We said multiple times, he is still considered a victim.”
- REUTERS/Danny Moloshok
One point of tension between Smollett and the police is over his level of cooperation. This week, Smollett provided the department with his phone records on the day of the attack, but Chicago Police said they aren’t sufficient.
Michael told INSIDER that Smollett gave them the records in a PDF with redactions, which don’t meet the standards of evidence the police department requires. He said the department is seeking the phone records in the original format.
“It’s not that we’re saying he’s lying, or changed them,” Michael said. “We need to be able to have our detective to go to a judge and say under oath they were verified. … In the end, if we charge someone, they have to be found guilty without a reasonable doubt.”
A representative for Smollett didn’t immediately respond to INSIDER’s request for comment.