Crime: For Chicago's top cop, Smollett case wasn't a hate crime -- but this one is - - PressFrom - US
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CrimeFor Chicago's top cop, Smollett case wasn't a hate crime -- but this one is

22:41  02 april  2019
22:41  02 april  2019 Source:   cnn.com

Charges dropped against Jussie Smollett in attack case

Charges dropped against Jussie Smollett in attack case Jussie Smollett made an “emergency court appearance” in Chicago on Tuesday, his rep confirmed. The actor and his lawyers are slated to speak to reporters at the conclusion of the court appearance, the rep said, according to local news station ABC 7. Smollett is accused of filing a false police report in January that claimed he was the victim of a hate-filled attack in Chicago. He was arrested in February, with Chicago authorities asserting Smollett, who stars on the Fox series “Empire,” orchestrated the attack on himself because he was unhappy with his salary. Smollett has maintained he is telling the truth.

For Chicago's top cop, Smollett case wasn't a hate crime -- but this one is© CNN

The Chicago Police Department had suffered an affront. The city's senior officer stood before the cameras, blasting a senseless act.

"It's really disgusting," Superintendent Eddie Johnson said.

He was angry -- and much of the city felt the same way about John Rivera.

Wait, who? In the sensational aftermath of the Jussie Smollett hate crime investigation, you could be forgiven for asking the question.

While Smollett's name had dominated the headlines for weeks, Johnson's disgust had nothing to do with that case. He was speaking for a department deeply wounded by the violent death of one of its own. And police believe that, unlike Smollett, 23-year-old Officer Rivera really was the victim of a crime born out of hate.

Jussie Smollett Gives Emotional Statement After Charges Are Dropped

Jussie Smollett Gives Emotional Statement After Charges Are Dropped Shortly after prosecutors formally dropped charges against Jussie Smollett on Tuesday, the embattled Empire actor held a press conference to discuss the new development. “First of all, I want to thank my family, my friends, the incredible people of Chicago and all over the country and the world who have supported me, prayed for me, who showed me so much love,” Smollett began. “No one will ever know how much that has meant to me, and I will be forever grateful.” He continued, “I want you to know that not for a moment was it in vain. I have been truthful and consistent on every single level since Day One.

Smollett has continued to insist that he told the truth about being the victim of a racist and homophobic attack, even after he was accused of filing false reports and charged with 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct.

All the noise surrounding the actor's case had drowned out the grieving and anger over the manner of Rivera's death.

"My son Daniel... worked with Officer Rivera in the 6th District," Johnson said. "Those officers ... they're suffering right now. They lost a friend, and Chicago lost a young guardian who wanted nothing else than to dedicate his life to making the city that he grew up in safer."

Gunned down while off duty

Investigators say Rivera was off duty, sitting in his personal car with friends and colleagues, when he was shot to death in Chicago's trendy River North area on March 23.

Chicago police files on Jussie Smollett investigation show behind-the-scenes maneuvers

Chicago police files on Jussie Smollett investigation show behind-the-scenes maneuvers CHICAGO - Chicago police on Wednesday released the investigative file involving the alleged hate crime hoax by "Empire" star Jussie Smollett. 

His suspected killers, police say, are two black men, one of whom had just been in a fight with a group of Hispanic men. When the suspects returned with a gun, they couldn't find the men they had been fighting with, so they shot Rivera instead -- the first Hispanic person they could find, police say.

The suspects, 32-year-old Jovan Battle and 24-year-old Menelik Jackson, are being held without bond.

At a press conference following the arrests, Johnson said the department is pursuing hate crime charges, which are still pending. It's unclear if the two men have attorneys.

The next day, with emotions still raw, Johnson got the news that the Smollett case was imploding.

While Rivera's death had pierced the department's heart, the abrupt dismissal of the Smollett case was about to attack its pride.

Battling a murder 'epidemic'

Johnson had begun the day at a police graduation ceremony -- one day after announcing the arrests in Rivera's killing.

President Donald Trump says FBI will look into Jussie Smollett case

President Donald Trump says FBI will look into Jussie Smollett case "It is an embarrassment to our Nation!" President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday morning.

Rivera had himself graduated two years earlier, arriving on the force at a critical time. National scrutiny of Chicago's gun violence had reached a peak. The city's 762 homicides in 2016 rivaled numbers not seen in nearly two decades.

President Donald Trump, meanwhile, was generating headlines with tweets calling for "Federal help" to address an issue of "epidemic proportions."

Putting more police on the streets was a top priority for Johnson and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who promised 1,000 additional officers on patrol.

Rivera was assigned to Auburn Gresham, which not only is where Johnson's son, Daniel, currently works, it's also the same South Side neighborhood where Johnson cut his teeth as a patrol officer for 10 years. He later returned there as a district commander.

A lifelong Chicagoan, Johnson grew up in the former Cabrini Green housing project until he was 9, then moved to Washington Heights, a neighborhood on the South Side.

For 27 years on the force, Johnson said he never once applied for a job.

"I kind of went where I was told to go and did it to the best of my abilities," Johnson said in 2016 -- when he was being tapped to lead the entire Chicago Police Department.

Chicago top prosecutor defends department on Jussie Smollett

Chicago top prosecutor defends department on Jussie Smollett Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx recused herself after communicating with a Smollett relative , defended her office's decision. "If your own prosecutor told us that he believes Mr. Smollett is guilty, why not get that guilty plea from him as part of this deal?" CBS News' Adriana Diaz asked. "Because according to the statue you don't have to. If he does and pays the restitution, if he does the community service, how he spins what he's done -- is that outcome consistent with others who are similarly situated," Foxx said.

Chicago police in crisis

His ascension to superintendent came as the department was in a tailspin.

The police shooting of Laquan McDonald had sparked deep mistrust in the community, especially when the officer who fired 16 shots, killing 17-year-old Laquan, wasn't charged.

The city settled with Laquan's family, but refused to release dashcam video of the shooting. A judge compelled the release of the tape, and the sight of a fleeing black teen shot in the back by a white officer inflamed residents already weary of police misconduct.

The officer, Jason Van Dyke, was later convicted of second-degree murder. He was sentenced to six years and nine months in prison.

The McDonald case was a flashpoint for many marginalized communities, especially African-Americans who felt they were being ignored -- left out of city investment that had energized the affluent downtown and North Side.

Protests stretched from the South Side to the Loop and Michigan Avenue -- Black Friday shopping was brought to a halt on the famed Magnificent Mile. Emanuel believed it was time for change.

He fired Superintendent Garry McCarthy and eventually replaced him with Johnson. The ills of the department, and perhaps the city, were Johnson's to fix.

Smollett case raised fresh questions for city

Three years later, at the start of 2019, Johnson had progress to which he could point. Chicago's homicide rate had plunged 26% in two years -- 201 fewer murders in 2018 than just two years before. The work was far from over, but on Johnson's watch the tide of negative headlines had come to an end.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel says city will try to recoup costs from Jussie Smollett, calls on President Trump to 'sit this one out'

Mayor Rahm Emanuel says city will try to recoup costs from Jussie Smollett, calls on President Trump to 'sit this one out' Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he will try to get “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett to pay Chicago back for the costs of the investigation into his claim that he was the victim of a hate crime attack, saying paying the money would be an implicit admission he was guilty of a hoax. Appearing on WGN Radio on Thursday morning, Emanuel also called on President Donald Trump to “just sit this one out,” after Trump tweeted Thursday morning that he would tell the FBI to investigate how Smollett’s charged were dropped.

"Chicago murder rate drops for second year in a row" read a CNN.com headline.

A few months earlier, there was an even more dramatic take in the Chicago Sun-Times: "FBI: Drop in murders in Chicago accounts for more than half of national decline."

At least in the public eye, Chicago was turning a corner.

Then came Jussie Smollett. And the headlines were about to change.

Suddenly, the city -- long viewed as a haven of liberalism -- was thrust into a corner it had rarely seen. Smollett, who is a black, gay man, alleged he was beaten and doused with bleach by two masked men who put a noose around his neck and shouted, "this is MAGA country," an apparent reference to President Trump's campaign slogan "Make America Great Again."

The allegations had Chicago questioning itself. A column in the Chicago Tribune was headlined "The attack on Jussie Smollett has surprised Chicagoans. But it shouldn't."

Actor took advantage 'to further his career'

When detectives concluded the allegations were a hoax, Johnson didn't just announce the finding, he proclaimed it to the world -- and reshaped the growing dialogue around Smollett's actions.

"The accusation within this phony attack received national attention for weeks," Johnson said defiantly. "Celebrities, news commentators and even presidential candidates weighed in on something that was choreographed by an actor... Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career."

That press conference marked a transformative moment in Johnson's tenure. His emotions were now pinned to his uniform alongside his badge.

State's attorney did not 'formally' recuse herself in Jussie Smollett case, her office says

State's attorney did not 'formally' recuse herself in Jussie Smollett case, her office says Cook County (Ill.) State’s Attorney Kim Foxx did not “formally” recuse herself from the Jussie Smollett case, her office said in a statement Thursday, explaining that Foxx used the term "recuse" in a "colloquial" sense rather than a legal sense when she left the case in February. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.

Some considered his unapologetic slam of Smollett to be out of line, even damaging. "The presumption of innocence, a bedrock in the search for justice, was trampled upon at the expense of Mr. Smollett," the "Empire" actor's attorneys said in a statement.

Fast forward 33 days, to the graduation ceremony. As Johnson attended, the charges against Smollett were dropped. The media, and quickly the public, were in a frenzy to make sense of what just happened.

Was the case botched? This was Chicago, after all, where gains in crime statistics are no match for an avalanche of doubt.

Johnson had to speak up for his department, so he summoned the media to the graduation ceremony. Steps away from future crime fighters, at one of the city's crown jewels of tourism, Navy Pier, a verbal war was under way.

"Do I think justice was served? No," Johnson said. "I think this city is still owed an apology (from Smollett)."

Emanuel was more direct: "He did this all in the name of self-promotion, and he used the laws of the hate crime legislation that all of us ... have put on the books to stand up to be the values that embody what we believe in. This was a whitewash of justice."

It was a striking rebuke -- one Emanuel would repeat loudly for days to come.

Johnson, however, would soon take another approach.

Smollett 'not exonerated'

In his moment of anger at the Navy Pier press conference, as his department's reputation was on the line, Eddie Johnson found the time to look inward.

"When I came on this job, I came on with my honor, my integrity, and my reputation," he said shortly after Smollett's case was dismissed. "If someone accused me of doing anything that would circumvent that then I would want my day in court to clear my name."

Privately, Johnson was said to be furious at the Cook County State's Attorney's Office for dismissing the charges after Smollett forfeited his $10,000 bond and performed 16 hours of community service.

Chicago to Sue Jussie Smollett After He Refuses to Pay Investigation Costs

Chicago to Sue Jussie Smollett After He Refuses to Pay Investigation Costs The city of Chicago is preparing to sue “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett for $130,000 to recoup the costs of its hate crime investigation. Last week, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office dropped 16 counts against Smollett, who had been accused of faking a hate crime against himself. The decision caused an uproar in Chicago, with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other officials blasting the prosecutor’s office. Two days later, the city’s Department of Law sent Smollett a bill in the amount of $130,106.15, and gave him one week to pay up. That deadline expired Thursday afternoon, and the Law Department issued a statement saying it was drafting a lawsuit. “Mr.

But four days after the charges were dropped, he seemed ready to make peace. In a statement, Johnson called the state's attorney, Kim Foxx, a "partner in our efforts to fight crime in Chicago" and noted that prosecutors "stood firmly behind this investigation and the evidence" and took it to a grand jury to secure the 16 felony counts.

"As the state's attorney said clearly, Mr. Smollett was not exonerated," Johnson added, finding common ground with Foxx while still supporting his detectives.

Foxx has come under fire for offering varied public comments on whether the evidence was enough to find Smollett guilty. Rank and file Chicago cops, through the Fraternal Order of Police, called for an FBI investigation into Foxx's actions.

But Johnson sounds much like the man who originally was hired to de-escalate crime, heal wounds and move the city forward.

"We're getting ready to go into summer months, I have to focus on violent crime and keeping this city safe," he told the Chicago Sun-Times on Friday, the day Officer Rivera was buried. The city typically experiences an uptick in violent crime over the summer.

Johnson's earlier advice to Rivera's grieving comrades might well be the same he'd give to those still smoldering over the Smollett case.

"Don't be afraid to come forward and talk -- to one another, and to others," he said.

For Chicago's top cop, Smollett case wasn't a hate crime -- but this one is© Chicago Police Department Chicago Police Officer John Rivera For Chicago's top cop, Smollett case wasn't a hate crime -- but this one is© CNN Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel called the Smollett case a "whitewash of justice."
Read More

Chicago to Sue Jussie Smollett After He Refuses to Pay Investigation Costs.
The city of Chicago is preparing to sue “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett for $130,000 to recoup the costs of its hate crime investigation. Last week, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office dropped 16 counts against Smollett, who had been accused of faking a hate crime against himself. The decision caused an uproar in Chicago, with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other officials blasting the prosecutor’s office. Two days later, the city’s Department of Law sent Smollett a bill in the amount of $130,106.15, and gave him one week to pay up. That deadline expired Thursday afternoon, and the Law Department issued a statement saying it was drafting a lawsuit. “Mr.

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