Chicago is still reeling from the events of the Jussie Smollett scandal. On Monday morning, Chicago police Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson appeared on Good Morning America, where he re-told the story as it unfolded before the eyes of the police department. According to Johnson, the scandal came to light when Smollett’s two alleged attackers decided to tell the truth while in custody.
“The entire time we investigated, [Smollett] was treated as a victim,” Johnson explained to GMA’s Robin Roberts. “We picked up the two individuals after we identified who they were…We took them in and were legally able to hold them for 48 hours…the 47th hour that we had those two in custody is when it changed.”
Johnson continued on to explain that the two suspects at the time were encouraged by their lawyers to tell the truth of the matter. After several hours of questioning, the suspects became witnesses as they revealed that Smollett paid them to commit the alleged crime so that the actor could file a fake police report.
As those who are following the investigation know, Smollett reported that he was attacked by two men in the early hours of January 29, 2019. The Empire star claimed that two white men in ski masks approached him shouting racial and homophobic slurs before physically attacking him with a chemical substance. The alleged attackers left a noose tied around the actor’s neck, according to Complex.
As the investigation proceeded, it was soon discovered that Smollett staged the attack in protest of his low pay for his work on FOX’s Empire.
BREAKING: Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson blasted "Empire" star Jussie Smollett in an emotional press conference in which he said that Smollett's alleged staging of a hoax attack was a "publicity stunt…to promote his career." https://t.co/7NKIGNKnqB pic.twitter.com/irGlsqhRIe
— Nightline (@Nightline) February 21, 2019
According to Johnson, the two hired brothers presented to the Chicago police a check for $3,500 that Smollett gave them to carry out the plan.
The investigation is still ongoing, as Johnson explained that there is evidence that has not yet been presented. However, much of the evidence does not support Smollett’s version of the story. He will remain innocent until proven guilty in court, should he choose to attend.
Johnson also spoke out about the case on a more personal note. When Roberts recalled the superintendent’s passionate press conference regarding the investigation last week, Johnson said that he did feel angry and disgusted by Smollett’s act.
“I grew up in the tail end of the civil rights era…the symbol of the noose is very offensive,” Johnson said. “The Chicago police have this issue with racism, and we did not earn this incident…I just want people to understand that’s a damaging thing to do to a city.”
During last week’s press conference, Johnson frequently referred to Smollett’s act as “shameful,” according to CBS.
Johnson feels it is his duty to set the record straight on the matter for the sake of Chicago.