Lying to Popo

This whole mess with Jussie Smollett is confusing. If you don’t know the story, Smollett is a star of television and movies, a director, singer and photographer. From the Mighty Ducks movie in his youth to a role in Empire, where he plays a musician in a multi-media conglomerate, Smollett is red carpet star. One further attribute is that he is gay, which will matter in the context of this story. Smollett, previously unknown to me due to my age and lack of television watching, recently made the news when he apparently filed a false police report claiming he was the victim of an assault for being gay and black. He claimed that two men assaulted him, poured bleach on him, and yelled that “This is MAGA country!” Oh yeah, they tied a noose around his neck.

Smollett calls the police and files a report. Strangely, he is still wearing the rope around his neck when the police arrive. That seems peculiar to me, but I’ve never been in his situation either, so who knows. There are no surveillance cameras in the area of the attack, so no video evidence of the alleged assault. That could happen I guess.

His story makes national news. Here is an unprovoked attack on a young, gay, black male for no apparent reason, other than retribution, in Chicago, by some Trump supporters. Yep, lots of Trump supporters are patrolling Chicago streets at 2 a.m. on a freezing cold morning looking for someone to jump coming out of 24 hour Subway. Sure. So the Chicago detectives start their investigation, but questions start to arise. One thing turns to another, the detectives find two black men of Nigerian ancestry, but who are American citizens, who are acquaintances of Smollett and low and behold, flew to Nigeria hours after the attack. Further, video has popped up of the two guys buying the ski masks and rope and such at a local store. Smollett is now a suspect and the case lingers on.

The Trump Derangement folks immediately go after anyone wearing a MAGA hat and how this attitude is all Trump’s fault. The media can’t help but gloat over the attack and proof of the ill will this country still holds, which Trump plays to. But the story crashes down and Smollett becomes the perpetrator instead of the victim in the eyes of Chicago PD.

Why would Smollett do this? One story is that Empire was writing Smollett out of the show, so maybe the attention would keep his job. While Empire says that is not true, Smollett apparently felt that by making up this story, he would be able to cement a continuing role and maybe salary increase out of the show. So there’s a reason, bizarre as it is, for his deception.

When I was DA, we had a case where a guy from Warner Robins claimed he was abducted from the parking lot at a local shopping center late at night. He alleged he was taken to Macon, beat up, robbed and his car taken. Well, his story fell apart quickly, but not before his abduction from Warner Robins made the headlines on all the local news. He had actually gone to Macon to get some street loving, but it didn’t go as planned. He was robbed, for sure, but it didn’t start in Warner Robins. My solution was to show everyone that 1) that was not something likely to happen in Warner Robins and I wanted that story rescinded, and 2) he needed to be badly embarrassed by the whole thing. He was already in plenty of trouble at home, according to the cops. So I made him wear a sandwich board along Watson Boulevard for several days saying that he lied to the police. His “deception” thus made the headlines of the local news and accomplished both of my goals. He did pretrial diversion, kept his job, presumably his family, and all was well.

I’m not suggesting that Smollett get the same thing, but sometimes justice needs to be somewhat innovative to accomplish real solutions. What would you do to Mr. Smollett, assuming he did file a false police report?

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