Military and Police

Verdict: Jussie Smollett, Guilty of Celebrity Privilege

The tale of Jussie Smollett will not end today or next week or even next year. It will live on as a slap in the face to the investigators in Chicago and an insult to this nation’s criminal justice system.

On March 26, 2019, Jussie Smollett’s 16 felony charges were dropped. Why? The entire fiasco smells of political insider trading. Chicago is a known Democratic Party hub, and this ruling doesn’t help change that factor. To make matters worse, the case file is now sealed, and the Smollett team wasted no time repeating the myth of Jussie’s victimization claim.

Smollett’s attorney read this statement: “Today, all criminal charges against Jussie Smollett were dropped and his record has been wiped clean of the filing of this tragic complaint against him. Jussie was attacked by two people he was unable to identify on January 29th. He was a victim who was vilified and made to appear as a perpetrator as a result of false and inappropriate remarks made to the public causing an inappropriate rush to judgment.”

It gets worse. Smollett’s attorney added: “Jussie and many others were hurt by these unfair and unwarranted actions. This entire situation is a reminder that there should never be an attempt to prove a case in the court of public opinion. That is wrong. It is a reminder that a victim, in this case Jussie, deserves dignity and respect. Dismissal of charges against the victim in this case was the only just result.”

Why does this annoy me? Keep all the “attack” details the same, but let’s flip the scenario and pretend Jussie is a Trump-supporting conservative. Would the outcome be the same? I doubt it. Not in Chicagoland. This event feels a lot like one more case of privilege, a celebrity left-wing privilege. President Trump even weighed in on the case via twitter: “FBI & DOJ to review the outrageous Jussie Smollett case in Chicago. It is an embarrassment to our Nation!”

This case will not soon be forgotten because it is a landmark example of political alliances overcoming a fair, unbiased legal process. I’m sure there are lots of deferred prosecutions each year in Chicago. I mean, it is Chicago. Their docket is full to the brim and overflowing.

However, dropping charges after being indicted just a few weeks ago seems hasty at best. It has been reported that Jussie has agreed to forfeit his $10,000 bond and complete two days of community service. Poor Jussie. His bond will not come anywhere close to covering the expense of investigating his story. In fact, on March 29, 2019, the City of Chicago billed Jussie and his team in the amount of $130,000…for the time investigators wasted on his case

The city of Chicago and state of Illinois are not the only victims here. Citizens who have been harmed by real violence in the mean streets were, for a time, ignored as the Smollett “hate” claims were investigated. Those lost man-hours cannot be retrieved and did harm to the department and people wounded by the urban crime that’s crushing Chicago.

Is Jussie a victim too? Unless irrefutable evidence comes to light, it appears that Smollett is a victim of one thing only—his fragile ego.

Praise for the Chicago PD investigators that worked on this case under intense scrutiny. Hats off to everyone in the Cook County justice system that attempted to do the right thing.

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Adam Wilson

Adam Wilson, author of Tactical Reload: Strategy Shifts for Emerging Leaders in Law Enforcement, is a highly decorated 14-year law enforcement veteran who was recognized in 2018 by the National Association of Police Organizations that sponsors the annual TOP COP Awards® for his handling of a human trafficking investigation in North Carolina. He has served as a SWAT senior operator and is trained to carry out specialized, military-style tactics in confrontations with violent criminals. He also collaborated with federal authorities in cases involving public corruption, sexual exploitation of minors and corrupt organizations. Concurrently, he served in a street crime unit that safeguarded against illegal guns, gangs and drugs. He has received five commendations for outstanding service and is a two-time winner of an Exceptional Service award. Wilson, who earned a master’s in Criminal Justice and is pursuing doctoral studies, is an E.A. Morris Fellow for Emerging Leaders in North Carolina and was appointed to the state Human Relations Commission by former Governor Pat McCrory.

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