The Larger Implications of the Smollett Hoax
Last December, an official verdict concluded the controversial Jussie Smollett case in Chicago, Illinois. The jury found Smollett guilty on five felony charges, each one covering separate incidents of lying to police about the hate crime he staged in January 2019. He was acquitted on a sixth count of lying to a detective weeks after the non-incident. On Thursday March 10th of this year, Smollett was officially sentenced to 150 days in jail, three years of probation, and ordered to pay fines for police overtime work, for a total of $145,126.
The Smollett ordeal provides a vignette of the public safety challenges ahead for America’s increasingly dangerous cities. Chicago reached nearly 800 homicides in 2021—while public figures and organizations in the Windy City denigrated law enforcement as a threat to black lives. Smollett’s narrative—and those who traffic in it— warrants a closer look, because actual black lives are on the line when interest groups, policymakers, and the media get distracted by fake racists.
Stone Washington is the Savas Collegiate Associate at the Manhattan Institute
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