As was widely reported yesterday and throughout the evening, singer/actor Jussie Smollett was admitted into a hospital following an incident where the entertainer said he was attacked on the street in Chicago by a pair of assailants. The star of the Fox drama “Empire” who is openly gay said they used racial and homophobic epithets as they beat him, poured bleach on him, and wrapped a rope around his neck.
Outrage has flooded in, more so once the details became the assailants were whites wearing red Donald Trump hats, and were said to have shouted “MAGA Country” during the assault. A wide array of politicians, celebrities, and members of the media have risen to voice outrage at this attack. As Sister Toldjah mentioned yesterday, caution would be the best approach with this episode, especially in light of the fiasco they made of the Covington students story.
Also, especially in light of some of the details of this new story. While most in the media are repeating the same outline of the events there are official aspects to this event that should inspire caution. Politicians from Kamala Harris to Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden have weighed in on what they see as a defacto hate-crime. Cory Booker has gone so far as to politicize this, using it to promote his pet anti-lynching legislation.
But questions arise after seeking out official reports from the Chicago area authorities. Beyond the hype cycle there are aspects of Smollett’s case that require further investigation. These do not disprove his testimony, however there is also not enough to validate. Here are some items from police officials that are being under-reported.
- Smollett’s initial report to police were of attackers wearing a mask. He did not identify them by race at that time. It was after those details were broadcast on social media that detectivess interviewed the singer a second time. It was then that Smollett told police of the racial component to his story.
- As CBS News reported, “In a follow-up interview with police, Smollett said his attackers yelled ‘MAGA country’ during the assault, Chicago police confirmed.” Even CNN’s Brian Stelter noted this came about in a secondary interview.
- Smollett returned to an apartment, and it was from there that the call to emergency services was made. When police responded Smollett requested the officers turn off their body-cameras before he gave his statement.
- According to the local ABC affiliate the incident was reported to take place around 2:00 am. When the call to police was made by 2:42 am Smollett was said to still be wearing the rope around his neck. This means Smollett left the scene, arrived at the apartment, and awaited police without ever removing the threat.
- Smollett initially refused a transport to the hospital. He later drove to the hospital on his own.
- There is video of Smollett inside a local Subway sandwich business near the time of the attack, but as of 11:00 pm Chicago PD states “Thus far, no video of the alleged assailants or a vehicle has been discovered but we are continuing to broaden our search.”
- While the initial reports are that Smollett was doused with bleach, official reports now list it as “an unknown substance”.
The prospect of bigoted individuals lying in wait at that hour for the possible arrival of a potential victim seems remote. To add to the scene, at that time in Chicago the outside temperature was at or below 0 degrees, and lower with a windchill.
None of the above details disprove anything, and the investigation is ongoing. But there are also plenty of portions of these official reports that would give reason for press and politicians to pump the brakes on the “hate-crime” rhetoric. For now we have only the testimony of a lone person, with no witnesses nor evidence to support the claims.
When the likes of Al Sharpton and Michael Avenatti are rushing to condemn President Trump already, you can see the need for the call for modulated voices on this story.
But we live in binary times, and the rush for outrage means there is enough to this story for the social hordes to rush out and make claims. Meanwhile, the truth seems to still be tugging on it trousers.
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