Empire actor Jussie Smollett staged
Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said in a news conference that he “took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career”.
Smollett is charged with filing a false police report after he claimed he was the victim of a homophobic attack.
Police say he also had sent that racist letter to himself at a Fox studio.
The 36-year-old star of the TV series Empire is suspected of paying two Nigerian brothers to stage the attack. They are both co-operating with the investigation, police say.
On Wednesday his lawyers said they would “mount an aggressive defence”.
Supt Johnson said the Empire actor committed a crime “to further his own profile”.
He said Jussie Smollett betrayed the city of
The “hoax”, he said, “received national attention for weeks,” and may deter future hate crime victims from coming forward for fear that their allegations may be met with scepticism.
He called upon the actor “to apologise to this city that he smeared”.
“Celebrities, news commentators, and even presidential candidates weighed in on something that was choreographed by an actor,” he said, with palpable anger as he spoke.
“I’m left hanging my head and asking why,” he said, describing Mr Smollett’s actions as a “slap in the face” to Chicagoans.
Smollett turned himself in early on Thursday and is in custody of Chicago police.
He will appear before a judge for a bond hearing later on Thursday.
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