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[OPINION] Did Chicago Police Help Sway Public Reaction in the Jussie Smollett Case?

CHICAGO, Ill. (FNN NEWS) – Jussie Smollett turned himself into police this week after staging a fake racist and homophobic attack against himself. When Smollett reported the attack, Chicago police mounted an exhaustive investigation with the help of the FBI in what was classified by police as a “hate crime”. It was later revealed that Smollett himself helped orchestrate the attack and paid two brothers whom he was familiar with to carry it out.

When the media first reported the attack, many people began to form their thoughts and opinions of the incident. It inflamed many and caused alarm in many others. There were statements made by police, subject experts, fans, political figures and celebrities. Many showed support and sympathy for Smollett and began to vocally denounce hate and the intolerance of it. One notable statement came from Senator and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris. Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi stated, “Given the severity of the allegations, we are taking this investigation very seriously and treating it as a hate crime.”

During the initial media reports, there were outlets that began to report that the attack was a hoax, including a Chicago ABC News affiliate. In response, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson himself contacted the news affiliate to state on the record that “there was no evidence to support their reporting and they were uninformed and inaccurate.”

Fast forward past the initial reporting and the statements, the comments, the reporting and the investigating, we finally get to the arrest of the two brothers. Police conducted an interview, new evidence was recovered and Smollett became a suspect. He instantly betrayed groups of supporters and caused many people to take back their spent emotions, feelings and words. It added fuel to the distrust that actual victims sometimes feel when reporting crimes. It created another divisional topic adding to the long list of issues being dealt with in the U.S. and it has allowed Trump supporters and hate groups to blast all those who made statements originally targeting them.

The Chicago police during their press conference on the matter expressed their frustration at Smollett due to the energy and passion investigators put into working the case, only to find it was a fraud. Superintendent Johnson also expressed his thoughts to those who spoke out in support of Smollett, including 2020 presidential candidates.

All that said, I have two questions: Did the Chicago police and its initial statements to the public, along with actual facts that hate crimes are rising in the U.S., help sway the reaction and comments originally made by so many in this fraudulent event? Should people really be apologizing for showing support of one they truly thought was a victim? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Jim Randle is a former law enforcement officer and criminal justice contributor for Florida National News. | info@floridanationalnews.com

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