The Chicago police chief who arrested actor Jussie Smollett back in 2019 said authorities were tipped off that the “hate crime” was not what it seemed by the actor’s untouched Subway sandwich.
The former chief also noted that Smollett might not have been criminally charged if he had come forward with an apology and abandoned his claims of victimhood, which he did not do.
“Looking back on it, the part about the noose — but what really struck us oddly — because at that time, I had been a cop 30 years, 31 years. And so I had been in the detective division working homicides, a lot. … What really struck us all was the fact that he got attacked on the coldest night of the year during a polar vortex. It was insanely cold. So, nobody was out,” Johnson said Friday on NewsNation’s “Morning in America,” describing the case against Smollett.
“But I tell you one thing that really tipped us off that there was a problem,” he continued. “If somebody gets jumped like that — so let me back up a bit. He went to a Subway sandwich shop at like two in the morning to get a sandwich. Okay, that’s fine. He comes back, gets attacked in a hate crime, supposed hate crime, and during all this scuffle, they poured bleach on him, and all of this, when he got up and went into his apartment building, he still had that Subway sandwich with him. That doesn’t happen.”
“When people get attacked like that, whatever belongings they have out there, they usually leave it until the police can go back with them because they’re afraid. This guy had the sandwich in his hand, and [it had] never been touched. That was a real tip and a clue to us that something was amiss.”
Back in January 2019, Smollett claimed he was targeted and attacked by apparent supporters of President Donald Trump in an anti-gay, anti-black hate crime. His alleged attackers, whom he allegedly described as white males who yelled “This is MAGA country,” were brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo. Notably, the brothers are both black men who knew the “Empire” star before the incident and have claimed Smollett orchestrated the “hoax.”
A jury on Thursday found Smollett guilty on five counts of disorderly conduct related to the incident. He has not yet been sentenced, but is facing up to three years in prison on each count, NBC Chicago reported.
Johnson also revealed during the interview that he did not want to pursue criminal charges against Smollett, but felt charges needed to move forward over the actor’s persistent claims of victimhood.
“Let me say this: myself and Mayor [Rahm] Emanuel at the time, we were upset about the fact that [he] stained our city like that, and we put all that manpower into it, but I just want people to understand this, too,” he said. “This isn’t the heinous crime of the century. He didn’t kill anybody. He didn’t blow up a building. So, we would have been more than happy with just an apology at the end of all of that, after we uncovered what we did, but for some reason, they just wanted to keep going down this road that he was actually a victim.”
Johnson retired from the force in November 2019, amidst an internal investigation, The Daily Wire reported:
Johnson might not have retired from his job so quickly were it not for an internal investigation, currently underway, into an incident that found Johnson slumped behind the wheel of a running car, stopped at a stop sign just blocks from his home in the Bridgeport neighborhood on Chicago’s south side. … Johnson later admitted that he had a few drinks at dinner with friends before he got behind the wheel.