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What if Jussie Smollett were from Englewood, not Hollywood?

Rahm Emanuel (left) is demanding actor Jussie Smollett pay back the city for the cost of the investigation into a hate crime that police say was a hoax. | Sun-Times photos by Mitch Armentrout and Ashlee Rezin

Jiminy Cricket! So, let me get this straight…

The mayor and police superintendent threw a hissy fit over the Cook County state’s attorney’s decision to suddenly drop the charges against actor Jussie Smollett without so much as a preemptive peep.

Oh my. What a miscarriage of justice! Poor poor Rahm-ee and Eddie. If looks could kill.


Except who needs looks to kill in a city with enough shootings each year to leave thousands wounded and 561 dead last year alone? A city where babies and pregnant mothers are gunned down, where semiautomatic gunfire cracks like thunder and bullets fall like hail upon neighborhoods that some folks in high places don’t really give a damn about.

Amid the breaking Smollett news, I tweeted of the now embattled state’s attorney: “…Kim Foxx, you got some splainin’ to do.”

Out in these streets, the word was: Jamal Lyon (Smollett’s character on “Empire”) beat the case! ‘Bout time a black man got off! (Not saying that’s right. But, er, um-m-m, I understand.)

In the hallowed halls where justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream, they were pissed: For the love of God! No fair. Call in the feds!

Even President Trump’s orange feathers were ruffled by the grave miscarriage of justice. “Outrageous” and “embarrassment,” he tweeted over Smollett stiff-arming the law. (Mr. No Collusion has got some nerve.)

“Foul!” they decreed over the airwaves and social media about the dismissal of the case in which Smollett was indicted earlier this month on 16 counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly masterminding the now believed-to-be fake attack against himself.

The attack in question occurred in the early morning hours of Jan. 29, with a frigid Chicago on the verge of a numbing polar vortex. After leaving a Subway near downtown, Smollett’s masked assailants purportedly peppered him with bleach, hung a rope around his neck and yelled, according to police, homophobic and racial slurs.

It sounded like a scene made for TV — and to many native-born Chicagoans, like a mountainous heap of horse poop. Not a case for Sherlock Holmes but Inspector Gadget.

But Jussie was from Hollywood, not Englewood.

He was not just another poor nameless brother lying lifeless with his blood and brains splattered on the street. This was Jussie, the actor. High profile. National. Not Pookie. Jussie.

Chicago’s good image was at stake…

My Lord, we can’t have famous people getting jacked up in our fair city and gain a rep for allowing the local subcultural riffraff to venture beyond their clearly delineated crime-ridden confines onto the pure Magnificent Mile and other off-bounds neighborhoods.

Get on the case, gentlemen! Spare no expense. Assign a dozen detectives. Comb through every second of surveillance footage. Find witnesses. Leave no stone unturned! 10-4.

Case solved. According to police: dude lied.

That the coppers quickly got to the bottom of it was no surprise. Oh, for the record, Smollett owes the city money and an apology — at least.

But here’s the thing. Police and city officials do not demonstrate the same urgency or righteous indignation over the true stories of raging violence gripping poor black neighborhoods. And that’s what makes their public outcry so disturbing, puzzling, hypocritical.

They act like Smollett got away with murder — like the white Chicago cop who fatally shot a black teenager 16 times. Where was all that official outrage then?

According to the Murder Accountability Project, from 1965 to 2017, there were 35,346 homicides in Chicago — only 3 out of 10 solved. And by the police’s own accounting, thousands upon thousands upon thousands shot.

So where’s the outrage? Huh? Where?



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