CHICAGO (CelebrityAccess) — In a surprising move, both Chicago’s mayor and police superintendent on Tuesday criticized the decision by the Cook County State’s Attorney Office to drop charges against Empire actor Jussie Smollett.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel characterized the decision to drop all charges against Smollett as a “whitewash of justice.”
“From top to bottom this is not on the level,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “At the end of the day, it’s Mr. Smollett that committed this false claim.”
The mayor saved his sharpest criticism for Smollett, accusing him of making it harder for people to report hate crimes.
“You have a person using hate crime laws that are on the books to protect people who are minorities from violence, to then turn around and use those laws to advance your career and your financial reward?” he added.
Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson joined Emanuel in criticizing the decision, stating that Smollett “chose to hide behind secrecy and broker a deal to circumvent the judicial system.”
Chicago prosecutors on Tuesday announced a decision to drop all charges against Smollett just weeks after he was indicted on 16 felony counts for allegedly filing a false police report claiming he was attacked by two men who hurled racist and homophobic slurs at him.
Smollett was later accused of staging the attack as a ploy to advance his career as an actor.
While Cook County may have dropped charges, Smollett may still face a federal investigation in the case. Smollett was accused of sending a letter to himself at the Empire set that contained threats and a white powder. If true, Smollett may be exposed to federal mail fraud charges.