Police held a news conference on Thursday, after actor Jussie Smollett was arrested and charged with felony disorderly conduct for filing a false police report. During the conference, Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson revealed that his department was “pissed off” at the Empire actor — after they realized that he allegedly staged the attack because he was unhappy with how much he was making on the show, according to CNN.
“When we discovered the actual motive, quite frankly, it pissed everybody off because we have to invest valuable resources,” Johnson said.
Police allege that Smollett staged the attack against himself because he was “dissatisfied with his salary.” During the news conference, Johnson said that the actor “attempted to gain attention by sending a false letter that relied on racial, homophobic and political language.”
They believe that Smollett was unhappy that the letter didn’t gain wider attention, so he took things to the next level.
“When that didn’t work, Smollett paid $3,500 to stage this attack and drag Chicago’s reputation through the mud in the process,” Johnson said. “And why? The stunt was orchestrated by Smollett because he was dissatisfied with his salary. So he concocted a story about being attacked.”
Johnson told the media that his department gave Smollett’s case the same attention it gives every hate crime, and that no resources were pulled from other departments. He added that all the extra attention paid to the case was solely by the media.
Breaking News: Jussie Smollett, upset by his salary and seeking publicity, staged an assault after writing himself a threatening letter, the Chicago police said https://t.co/EYknq2PjQf
— The New York Times (@nytimes) February 21, 2019
Johnson also called out the actor for diverting attention to the people in Chicago who are impacted by gun violence, saying that they are the ones who deserve the media attention, and not Smollett. Chicago has been plagued with violence in recent years — violence that police have struggled to contain. It had its highest murder rate in two decades in 2016, though numbers have dropped in the past two years.
Johnson also headed off criticism from people who suggest that the Chicago police may be framing Smollett, saying that the actor was treated as a victim until the new details suggesting he staged the attack came to light.
Despite the inconsistencies, I can’t blindly believe Chicago PD. The department that covered up shooting Laquan McDonald over a dozen times? That operated an off-site torture facility? That one? I’ll wait. Whatever the outcome, this won’t stop me from believing others. It can’t.
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) February 17, 2019
Smollett claims that two men wearing MAGA hats attacked him on January 29 — putting a noose around his neck — while shouting homophobic and racist comments at him. He also says they poured an unknown liquid on him. Johnson expressed frustration that Smollett used racist symbols like a noose in order to allegedly further his career.
As the Inquisitr previously reported, Smollett was charged with a Class 4 felony on Wednesday by a grand jury. His crimes could carry a sentence of up to 3 years.