Let’s talk about the Jussie Smollett case. Let’s talk about his alleged actions, the decision about how best to prosecute and resolve the case, and the implications for our Chicagoland community.

There was considerable evidence, uncovered in large part due to the investigative work of the Chicago Police Department, suggesting that portions of Smollett’s claims may have been untrue and that he had direct contact with his so-called attackers. Claims by Smollett or others that the outcome of this case has “exonerated” him or that he has been found innocent are simply wrong. He has not been exonerated; he has not been found innocent.

Falsely reporting any crime is itself a crime; falsely reporting a hate crime is so much worse, and I condemn in the strongest possible way anyone who does that. Falsely reporting a hate crime causes immeasurable harm to the victims of actual crimes, whether because they are less likely to be believed or, worse, because they are afraid to report their crimes in the first place for fear of not being believed.