Eddie T. Johnson, the Chicago Police Superintendent that’s been spearheading the Jussie Smollett investigation, sat down with “Good Morning America’s” Robin Roberts on Monday and said investigators have more evidence that prove the actor is lying.
Last month Smollett said he was beaten by two white men near his Chicago apartment in a racist and homophobic attack, but afterward police said he staged the whole thing by hiring brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo.
After authorities said Smollett paid them $3,500 to attack him, reports later surfaced that Smollett claims money was for fitness training, an explanation Johnson shot down.
The police superintendent also answered those who pointed to the CPD’s long history of racism as evidence that Smollett might not get a fair shake in the investigation. Director Ava DuVernay was one of celebrity who advanced that idea.
“It’s not the Chicago police who said he did something, it’s the evidence, facts and the witnesses [who] are saying this,” Johnson stated.
Afterwards, the superintendent spoke about being offended by Smollett’s claim that a noose was tied around his neck in the attack, which is something he first addressed during a press conference last week after the actor was arrested for felony disorderly conduct.
“I grew up in the tail end of the civil rights era, and I lived in Cabrini-Green housing project, and the symbolism of a noose is very offensive,” he explained. “The Chicago Police Department has its issues on racism and excessive force and all of that. I’m acutely aware of that, but we didn’t earn this particular incident, and I refuse for us to take that shot if I have evidence to the contrary.”
Johnson then said that he hopes victims of real attacks don’t suffer because of the “Empire” actor, whom he has said has a lot more evidence on.
“I just hope people don’t judge other folks that are victims of these types of crimes because this is just one particular incident,” he stated. “There are real victims of crimes of that nature, hate crimes and I just hope people don’t treat them with skepticism.”
“There’s a lot more evidence that hasn’t been presented yet that does not support the version that he gave us,” Johnson added. “There’s still a lot of physical evidence, video evidence and testimony that simply doesn’t support his version of what happened.”