Jussie Smollett arrested

By Veronica Rocha, Meg Wagner and Brian Ries, CNN
5:25 p.m. ET, February 21, 2019
11:24 a.m. ET, February 21, 2019

Trump calls out Smollett, says actor insulted millions of people with "racist and dangerous comments"

President Trump just tweeted about Jussie Smollett's arrest, calling him out for claiming his attackers were Trump supporters.

Read the President's tweet:

What Smollett alleged happened: In an interview with ABC that aired on last Thursday, Smollett said one of the attackers said, "'This MAGA country, n****r' and he punched me in the face so I punched his a** back."

"It feels like if I had said it was a Muslim or a Mexican or someone black, I feel like the doubters would have supported me a lot much more," Smollett said. "And that says a lot about the place where we are as a country right now.

The star theorized that he had been targeted because of his vocal criticism against President Trump and his administration, telling Roberts, "I come really hard against 45."

11:35 a.m. ET, February 21, 2019

This is how the Smollett investigation went down, according to Chicago police

Edward Wodnick, commander of the area central detective division, detailed the Chicago police department's extensive investigation into Jussie Smollett's hate crime allegations.

Here's a brief timeline:

  • Morning of Jan. 29: Jussie Smollett reports he was the victim of a hate crime.
  • The allegations: Police interview him at the hospital. He says two people yelled racial, homophobic and political statements at him, beat him, put a noose on his neck, threw bleach on him and fled, according to Wodnick. Smollett had scratches on his face.
  • The investigation: Police launched a hate crime investigation and found two people of interest on a video. Investigators issued a community alert for information on them and searched the area for cameras and witnesses. They interviewed more than 100 people and found more than 55 cameras. "The city came together to investigate and help the police with this crime," Wodnick said.
  • Persons of interest found: After reviewing the cameras, police discovered the alleged offenders fled in a cab, which detectives tracked down. Investigators interviewed the cab driver and got video from the cab. Police tracked their movements to a ride share, and it eventually led them to what "we needed in order to identify the two persons of interest," Wodnick said.
  • Suspects arrested: Investigators later learned that they were going to the O'Hare International Airport and were catching a flight to Nigeria. The alleged offenders purchased roundtrip tickets with them returning to Chicago on Feb.13. As police waited for them to return, they issued more than 50 search warrants and subpoenas. Police took them into custody when they reentered the country at US customs.
  • "Something smelled fishy": The men's attorney told police that "something smelled fishy" and that "she did not think that they were the offenders as were reported,"  Wodnick said. She allowed police to give them a video interview and said "she worked with us very, very closely to get to the point where she came to me and said, 'They are not offenders. They are victims,'" Wodnick said.
  • No longer suspects: Police worked with the men to get a timeline and document their story. "We were able to substantiate those things," Wodnick said. The men were released and police went to the grand jury.
  • The grand jury investigation: Police worked with the state attorney's office and went to the grand jury. The two men instead served as witnesses. Smollett's attorneys contacted police and said they had evidence to postpone the grand jury, Wodnick said. Detectives met with them but they gave no new information, Wodnick said.
  • Charges filed: State attorney's office approved a felony charge against Smollett for disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report.
  • Today at 6 a.m. ET: Smollett turned himself in.
10:47 a.m. ET, February 21, 2019

Police chief: "Absolute justice" would be an apology to Chicago

Asked what he thought would be justice in this case, police superintendent Eddie Johnson said an apology to the city would be a start.

"Absolute justice would be an apology to this city that he smeared, admitting what he did and then be man enough to offer what he should offer up in terms of resources put into this," Johnson said.

Johnson pointed out, multiple times, the man-hours Chicago police poured into this case, and police were "pissed" when they learned Jussie Smollett's true motive.

10:47 a.m. ET, February 21, 2019

Smollett's ABC interview describing alleged attack was "shameful," police chief says

Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson said he hasn't seen the entire interview "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett did with ABC's "Good Morning America" — but he said the parts he did see were "shameful."

"I haven't seen the entire thing. I saw a couple of parts of it. To be quite honest, it's shameful because it painted this city that we all love and work hard in in a negative connotation," Johnson said.

In the interview, Smollett said he was "forever changed" by the incident and was "pissed off" by both the attack and the doubt that has been cast over his story.

He described the alleged attack and said one of the attackers said, "'This MAGA country, n****r'" during the incident.

10:42 a.m. ET, February 21, 2019

Phone records show Smollett spoke to the brothers before and after the attack, police say

Jussie Smollett spoke to his alleged attackers "an hour or so" before the incident and after, according to Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson, who was citing phone records.

Smollett reportedly paid the men, who are two brothers, to stage the attack in Chicago. One of the brothers works on the show "Empire" with Smollett.

10:57 a.m. ET, February 21, 2019

Police chief: Smollett's motive "pissed everybody off"

Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson said his department was "pissed off" when they discovered Jussie Smollett's actual motive.

Moments ago, Johnson said the "Empire" actor staged the attack on himself because he was unhappy with his salary. Smollett was treated as a victim until police learned more details, Johnson said.

"When we discovered the actual motive, quite frankly, it pissed everybody off because we have to invest valuable resources," he said.
See more:
10:45 a.m. ET, February 21, 2019

Investigation into Smollet's report got the same attention as any other hate crime, police say

Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson said police did not give Jussie Smollett's reported hate crime any extra attention or effort — officers treated it the way they treat every hate crime.

"Any time a hate crime is reported in the city of Chicago, it gets the same attention. This didn't get any special attention. You all gave this more attention specifically than we do," he said, referring to the media while speaking to reporters at a news conference. 

"We give every hate crime in this city the same amount of vigor because there is no place for hatred in this city," he added.

Johnson added that police "didn't pull resources from shootings or homicide investigations" in order to investigate Smollett's report. Those officers work on different teams, he said.

Listen here:

10:34 a.m. ET, February 21, 2019

Scratches and bruises on Smollett's face were likely self-inflicted, police say

According to Chicago police, Jussie Smollett paid $3,500 to two brothers to stage an attack.

The alleged attack went down on the street. The two men, who were wearing gloves, punched Smollett "a little bit," superintendent Eddie Johnson said.

However, the scratches and bruises on his face were likely self-inflicted, according to Johnson.

10:55 a.m. ET, February 21, 2019

Chicago mayor: Smollett put his "perceived self-interest" ahead of the city's values

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel just released a statement on the Smollett investigation:

"I want to thank all of the Chicago police officers who have worked on this case, and all of the private citizens and business owners who have stepped forward with information and video evidence to help us get to the bottom of what was reported as a hate crime. 
All across Chicago, in every neighborhood, there are signs in front yards and in windows that read, "Hate Has No Home Here." It is a sign that expresses our shared values and defines our great city. Chicago's message to the world is that no matter where you come from, who you love, or how you pray you will always have a home here. Our laws exist to reflect and defend those values, and hate crimes will never be tolerated. A single individual who put their perceived self-interest ahead of these shared principles will never trump Chicago's collective spirit."