An injustice occurred when the Cook County state’s attorney’s office dropped all charges against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, cutting a closed-door deal and without consulting with the Chicago Police Department.
What an insult to all the hard work by police officers and detectives in solving an allegedly faked motivated attack. Why wasn’t there a trial for the 16 felony counts against Smollett that put Chicago in a bad light?
Can you imagine if a police officer lied on a report? The state’s attorney would prosecute the officer for falsifying a report and for official misconduct. If the state’s attorney’s office continues to believe Smollett faked the whole thing, why did they make this deal?
John Moravecek, Naperville
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Legalizing pot harms minority communities
Illinois would be wise to oppose the legalization of recreational marijuana.
It’s being pushed by elected officials and industries that have their own agendas. People aren’t allowed the necessary time to assess the unintended consequences this is going to have on our state — especially in our minority communities.
Similar to what the tobacco and alcohol industries have done in the past, communities of color are main targets. Pot businesses are popping up in lower-income neighborhoods. Even in Denver, one lower-income neighborhood has a pot business for every 47 residents.
Fewer than 1 percent of the marijuana stores in the country are owned by African Americans. On top of that, fewer than 19 percent of marijuana businesses in the country have investors that are minorities. This means the vast majority of people profiting from commercialization are not the ones who have been most harmed by criminalization.
It’s hypocritical to be a champion of communities of color and support the legalization of marijuana. Instead of putting another burden, focus on the key issues that need addressing immediately: criminal and social justice reform. Illinois would be taking several steps back by legalizing recreational marijuana.
Teresa Haley, State President of the Illinois NAACP