Joshua A. Vinson

Joshua A. Vinson | Sports editor

News broke Tuesday afternoon that “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett and his legal team had an emergency court appearance. What happened afterwards caused shock waves throughout Chicago and its government officials. All 16 charges against him were dropped, and a judge granted a motion to seal the case. 

The decision to let Smollett go, along with him still claiming his innocence, infuriated Chicago’s mayor Rahm Emmanuel.

“I want to say one other thing,” Emmanuel said at a press conference. “Mr. Smollett is still saying he is innocent (and) still is running down the Chicago Police Department. How dare he? How dare he?”

Emmanuel was adamant the CPD and the prosecution had Smollett and were ready to bring him to justice. Additionally, CBS2 Chicago reported that the chief of police, Eddie Johnson, was “livid” and “blindsided” by the decision.

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s office sent out a press release stating that given the facts and circumstances surrounding the case accompanied with Smollett’s community service and forfeiting of his bond to the Chicago, they believed this was the best course of action.  

What makes this case even more bizarre is that Kim Foxx, who’s the Cook County State’s Attorney, recused herself from this case because of a conflict of interest and convinced the chief of police to turn things over to the Feds while her office still handled the case.

Foxx appointed Joseph Magats to fill her role as she took a step back, yet he still answered directly to her. Magats spoke with CBS2/WBBM-TV and said he does believe that Smollett is guilty.

“I do not believe he is innocent,” Magats said. “Based on all the facts and circumstances, based on his lack of criminal background. I mean, we defer or do alternative prosecutions. In the last two years, we’ve done it on 5,700 other felony cases.”

Everything about this situation stinks, and Chicagoans suffer the embarrassment of the pay-to-play politics that has plagued the city’s government and law-making decisions over the last several decades.  

Here are my issues with everything going on with this Smollett saga. Granted, none of us were there, but everything looks like he set this entire situation up for personal gain. 

The likelihood of a black man being attacked by two white supremacists in downtown Chicago is far-fetched. People would argue and say racism is contained by a certain zip code, and they are correct. Nevertheless, I did not say it was impossible, but it is unlikely. 

We as a society gave him the benefit of the doubt, and then the CPD began to do their investigation. Things started to look like he made all of this up, and the CPD went to the media and began leaking information about every detail in this case.

I understand why many people would have their doubts about the CPD. We all see the lack of justice involving Laquan McDonald’s murder, but nevertheless city officials and the CPD had to handle this situation with extra care, given there was a lot at stake.

Now for the fallout to happen this way, the entire city looks shameful in front of the world. Smollett essentially gets away and is exonerated from all wrong doings even though he took advantage of laws that are in place to protect some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

Just another day in Chicago politics. If you know a guy that knows a guy, perhaps you can walk away without penalty for staging a hate crime against yourself.

It’s the Chicago way.

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