Chicago police have dropped all charges against television actor Jussie Smollett, who was accused of falsely reporting that he had been the target of a hate crime.
Smollett’s attorneys announced the news Tuesday, saying their client’s record had been “wiped clean.”
A spokeswoman for the Cook County prosecutor’s office said, “After reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the case, including Mr. Smollett’s volunteer service in the community and agreement to forfeit his bond to the City of Chicago, we believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case.” She added that Smollett will forfeit a $10,000 bond payment.
But Chicago police as well as mayor Rahm Emanuel have spoken out angrily about the development. “This is without a doubt a whitewash of justice,” Emanuel said, complaining that the grand jury in the case heard “only a sliver” of the evidence.
Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson said, “Do I think justice was served? No. What do I think justice is? I think this city is still owed an apology.”
Smollett, who is black and gay, responded publicly to the decision, thanking family, friends and fans who supported him and vowing, “I have been truthful and consistent on every level since day one. I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I have been accused of.”
Smollett reported in January that he had been sent a threatening letter and was then attacked on the street by two men he didn’t know who wrapped a rope around his neck and attempted to pour bleach on him while yelling racial and homophobic slurs. He also said they yelled, “this is MAGA country,” referring to President Donald Trump’s slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
Police later said that Smollett had staged the attack himself, paying two physical trainers $3,500 to carry it out.
Smollett plays a gay character on the television show Empire, which is filmed in Chicago.