Jussie Smollett held in a psych ward, sleeping on a restraint bed according to supporters

Cook County Sheriff's Office via AP

Jussie Smollett’s sentencing ended in a pretty dramatic fashion last week. Judge Linn said he believed Smollett committed the hate hoax for attention and sentenced him to 150 days in jail and 2 1/2 years probation. Smollett responded by going into a rant claiming “I am innocent and I am not suicidal.”

Apparently authorities weren’t convinced. According to Jussie’s brother, Jocqui Smollett, Jussie has been placed in a psych ward and a notice outside his sell says he’s in danger of self harm. “I don’t know why they even have him in a psych ward, we still have not gotten clear answers there and why he’s even in a psych ward,” Jocqui said. He added, “They’ve recently added to his documentation that he’s at risk of harming himself.” Here’s the full statement.


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The video ends with a line that has been repeated by other people who are part of this family-led #FreeJussie campaign. “He is innocent and even if you don’t believe in his innocence, you should believe that he should be free,” Jocqui said.

Jussie’s sister Jurnee Smollett posted a similar message on her Instagram account. There’s no video with this one just a big black square that reads #FreeJussie and the caption: “Black Americans are incarcerated in state prisons at nearly five times the rate of White Americans. Jussie is innocent. And…you don’t have to believe in his innocence to believe he should be free.
#FreeJussie #StopLockingUpOurPeople”

That’s supposed to be a clever line I guess but I’m not sure how clever it really is. Innocence and guilt matter. If you don’t believe in Smollett’s innocence, meaning you believe he created a hate hoax for attention, why would you feel compelled to demand his freedom? 150 days in jail isn’t exactly hard time in a penitentiary. As Judge Linn said during sentencing, it seems appropriate given the degree of lying Smollett has done about this case for the past 3 years, including lying on the stand during his own trial.

Actress Taraji Henson took that a step farther on her Instagram account. Her statement reads in part, “I am not here to debate you on his innocence but we can agree that the punishment does not fit the crime. Emmett Till was brutally beat and ultimately murdered because of a lie and none of the people involved with his demise spent one day in jail, even after Carolyn Bryant admitted that her claims were false. No one was hurt or killed during Jussie’s ordeal. He has already lost everything, EVERYTHING!”

Jussie Smollett hasn’t lost everything. He’s still a very wealthy man who will be out of jail soon and could probably live the rest of his life on the bank account he’s amassed already. Also, I’m not sure the comparison to the false accusers of Emmett Till really helps here. The argument isn’t that since they didn’t serve time Jussie shouldn’t either. The argument is that they should have served time for lying and didn’t. Jussie Smollett is serving time for lying.

Finally, BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors posted her own video on Instagram Sunday saying that she’d seen Smollett that day. “Today is the first day that he’s going to be able to get an actual bed, he’s been sleeping on a restraint bed,” Cullors said. She didn’t say that Smollett was being restrained so maybe the restraint bed is just what they had in the psych ward.

“What happened to Jussie could have happened to any of us,” Cullors said. Well, no, not really. What happened to Jussie could only happen to someone who was so self involved they created a hate hoax for attention and then decided they were so important they could lie on the stand about their guilt and show no remorse. Unless you’ve done all of that, you’re probably not at risk of winding up in jail like Jussie Smollett. Here’s Cullors full plea to keep demanding Smollett’s freedom.


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