Chicago Police Chief Eddie Johnson sat down with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America to talk about the Jussie Smollett case.
Johnson told Roberts that he is out speaking about the case because he wants to make sure the public knows the full details of the case because of the sensitivity of many issues surrounding law enforcement and racism: “The city of Chicago has its issues, the Chicago Police Department has its issues with racism and excessive force and all of that, and I’m acutely aware of that. But we didn’t earn this particular incident and I just refuse to let us have to take that shot if I have evidence to the contrary. So I just want people to understand that it’s a damaging thing to do to a city and to a police department, so it’s my responsibility to ensure that the record gets set straight.”
Roberts asked Johnson about the $3,500 check made out to Smollett that was revealed to have a notation that it was for training.
Johnson offered no specificity that would answer questions about the check, but simply repeated that the brothers told police they were paid $3,500 to carry out the attack.
Asked about the passionate press conference he gave last week, Johnson replied: “I hope people don’t judge other folks that are victims of these types of crime. This is just one particular incident, and that’s the damaging part of it. You damage a city’s reputation where we don’t need help with that. There are real victims of crimes of that nature, hate crimes, and I just hope that people don’t treat them with skepticism.”
Johnson reiterated something he said at last week’s press conference, that the investigation only turned at the last minute because the brothers’ attorney convinced them to tell the truth: “We didn’t have the facts to support him being involved in it until that 47th hour, and it’s important for people to recognize that it’s not the Chicago police saying he did something, it’s the evidence, the facts and the witnesses that are saying this.”
Johnson stood by the department’s handling of the case, adding, “There’s a lot more evidence that hasn’t been presented yet that does not support the version he gave…There’s still a lot of physical evidence, video evidence, and testimony that just simply does not support his version of what happened.”