Superintendent Eddie Johnson said at a news conference that Smollett orchestrated the incident, in which he claimed he was assaulted by two men in late January, in order to take “advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career.”
In a statement obtained by Fox News, the 36-year-old Smollett’s legal counsel said the nation “witnessed an organized law enforcement spectacle that has no place in the American legal system.
“The presumption of innocence, a bedrock in the search for justice, was trampled upon at the expense of Mr. Smollett and notably, on the eve of a Mayoral election,” his team continued.
“Mr. Smollett is a young man of impeccable character and integrity who fiercely and solemnly maintains his innocence betrayed by a system that apparently wants to skip due process and proceed directly to sentencing.”
Smollett was charged Wednesday night with felony disorderly conduct and turned himself in at central booking early Thursday. If convicted, he faces up to three years in prison. A judge set Smollett’s bond for $100,000 later on Thursday.
While Smollett is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, the police superintendent implied that Smollett did, in fact, fake the attack.
“This is shameful because it painted this city that we all love and work hard in, in a negative connotation,” Johnson said. “To insinuate and stage a hate crime of that nature when he knew that as a celebrity he’d get a lot of attention … It’s despicable. It makes you wonder what’s going through someone’s mind.”
“As a black man, who spent his entire life living the city of Chicago, I know the racial divide that exists here. I know how hard it’s been for our city and our nation to come together,” he said. Johnson added that “absolute justice would be an apology to this city that he smeared … admitting what he did and then be man enough to offer what he should offer up in terms of all the resources that were put into this.”
Smollett ultimately posted bail and was released Thursday afternoon before he returned to the Chicago set of “Empire,”
Fox News’ Sasha Savitsky contributed to this report.