UPDATED: 12:20 p.m. EST, Dec. 4, 2019 —
Jussie Smollett was charged with 16 felony counts of falsifying a police report before all charges were dropped. However, the Chicago Police Department was outraged, slamming Smollett and Cook County’s first and only Black woman State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. The law enforcement agency is convinced Smollett is not guilty even though that decision only falls into the hands of the jury — and there was no trial. That said, the Chicago Police Department appears to only trust the criminal justice system when it’s on their side.
Fast forward nearly one year and the disgraced now-former Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson — the same one who wanted Smollett behind bars — has been fired for lying about a drunken night behind the wheel with a woman who is not his wife.
All of which gets us to this brief but necessary reminder of why we should always question the notoriously corrupt Chicago Police Department.
Fred Hampton is one of the most iconic cases of deplorable behavior from the Chicago police. On Dec. 4, 1969, Hampton — a 21-year-old chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party (BPP) — and Mark Clark — a 22-year-old Peoria Panther leader — were murdered by Chicago police officers working with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. At the time of the attack, Hampton and Clark were neither inciting violence nor were they having a standoff with police. Instead, they were both asleep inside their Chicago home.
Driven by then-Cook County State’s Attorney Edward Hanrahan, the deadly raid of the local BPP chapter — which left four other BPP members severely injured — was one of multiple attempts to attack the BPP amid Cointelpro’s mission to “expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit or otherwise neutralize the activities of black nationalist hate type organizations and groupings, their leadership, spokesmen, membership and supporters,” as written in an FBI document.
“Despite the evidence provided by ballistics experts showing that police had fired 99 percent of the bullets and had falsified the report on the incident, the first federal grand jury did not indict anyone involved in the raid,” History.com wrote. “Furthermore, even though a subsequent grand jury did indict all the police officers involved, the charges were dismissed.”
Now, years later, there is the horrific story of Laquan McDonald. On October 20, 2014, video of the 17-year-old’s killing appeared to show then-Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke firing at him 16 times within 14 seconds. The video was released one year after McDonald’s death and showed the teen walking away instead of confronting officers, which is what Van Dyke falsely said happened. McDonald continued to be shot at even after he fell to the ground from the initial bullets.
Two police officers and one detective were acquitted of trying to cover up the shooting for Van Dyke, even though that was precisely what they did. The three men all said Van Dyke, who was found guilty in October, was justified in shooting the teenager 16 times within 14 seconds. Van Dyke’s partner the night of the shooting, even said: “McDonald was walking toward Van Dyke and with his arms raised when he was shot.” The video would later contradict that account, showing Walsh lied. Still, he and his co-defendants were acquitted.
More than four years after killing McDonald, Van Dyke was given the light sentence of 81 months in prison. However, it is reported he will probably only serve three to four years.
As for Smollett, the Chicago Police Department appeared to drop the ball from the beginning with its handling of the case in the media. First, a police spokesperson said there was no footage of the assailants. Then, hours later, there were two “persons of interest” on video. They also claimed the “Empire” actor “refused” to give the cops his phone, but he did give his phone records. Now the FBI is reportedly saying Johnson, the recently fired Chicago police superintendent, went “too far” and “overstated” the case against Jussie. That led to Johnson going on “Good Morning America” on appearing to try to do damage control.