Chicago Police Department said Wednesday that they have arrested Empire star Jussie Smollett on a Class 4 felony charge in falsifying a police report. He turned himself in early Thursday morning.
"Jussie Smollett is under arrest and in custody of detectives," Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted early on Thursday. "At 9am at #ChicagoPolice Headquarters, Supt Eddie Johnson, Commander of Area Central Detectives Edward Wodnicki will brief reporters on the investigation prior to the defendants appearance in court."
Tom Ahern, who is the deputy director for the Chicago Police Department, added “Chicago Police Detectives take #Empire actor #JussieSmollett into custody to face Class 4 Felony charge (punishable for up to 3yrs in prison) for Disorderly Conduct in Falsifying Police report. Bond Hearing scheduled for 1:30p in Cook County Criminal Court.#ChicagoPolice.”
Chicago Police Chief Eddie T. Johnson dropped a major bombshell about the case, saying the attack was a “hoax” and a “shameful… publicity stunt.” He claimed the stunt was orchestrated by Smollett because he was “dissatisfied with his salary.”
Johnson said that the 36-year-old actor first tried to gain attention to this story by sending a false racist letter to his work. “When that didn't work, he paid $3,500 to stage this attack and drag Chicago's reputation through the mud in the process," he said. Police say they now have the check, made out to brothers Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo, who have become witnesses after confessing to the entirety of the plot while in custody.
Johnson was quite emotional about the entire case during the press conference on Thursday morning. “I'm left hanging my head and asking, why? Why would anyone, especially an African-American man, use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations? How could someone look at the hatred associated with that symbol and see an opportunity to manipulate that symbol to further his profile?"
He also discussed what impact Smollett’s stunt would have on hate crimes in the future. "We will investigate with the same amount of vigor, (but) my concern is now hate crimes will be met with a level of skepticism that previously didn't happen," he said. "I only hope the truth about what happened receives the same amount of attention the hoax did.
The latest developments have caused a huge reaction online. Real Housewives of New York City star Bethenny Frankel didn’t mince her words over the situation, tweeting “If this is true about Jessie (SP), he is a sick F. Look at all the people who were pouring out sympathy videos calling him their brother.”