Saturday, June 25, 2022

Black juror: Smollett’s reaction to the noose is meaningless

CHICAGO – The only black juror to convict Jussie Smollett of lying to Chicago police said he couldn’t get past what the actor didn’t do after he claimed the intruders had a noose around his neck: rip it off and hold it …

If others saw the noose as Smollett’s clumsy attempt to portray the attackers as racists, Andre Hope saw much more.

“As an African American, I don’t tighten this noose at all,” Andre Hope told WLS-TV. At the trial, Smollett testified that after the attack in downtown Chicago in January 2019, he returned home and put the rope around his neck again so that the police, who soon came to his apartment, could see it.

Hope was not the only black person to fight Smollett’s use of such a powerful symbol of racism in the United States to convince authorities that he was the victim of a hate crime.

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In an interview with NewsNation Now after Smollett was found guilty last Thursday, Eddie Johnson, who was Chicago Police Superintendent in January 2019 when Smollett claimed he was attacked, said much the same.

“I was worried because I don’t think there are many black people in America with a noose around their necks who wouldn’t take it off right away,” Johnson said.

Hope said the evidence against Smollett was undeniable. At the trial, the two brothers testified that Smollett hired them to carry out the fake assault. Hope said the opposite version, put forward by Smollett’s lawyers, that the couple did indeed plan to attack Smollett, does not make sense.

“If you use common sense as it is, then yes, it doesn’t add up,” said Hope, a 63-year-old father of two who lives in the suburb of Bellwood, west of Chicago.

Hope listened to prosecutors’ arguments that Smollett was playing a prank because he was angry that the studio where he filmed the television program Empire did not take seriously the hate letters he received. But after all the evidence has been presented, after all the witnesses have testified, Nadezhda has one big question.

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“I still don’t understand why he did it, why it had to happen at all,” Hope said. “He was a star.”

Smollett faces up to three years in prison when he returns to court next year for sentencing. But experts say he is far more likely to be put on probation and forced to do community service.

That would be okay for Hope, who thinks Smollett doesn’t deserve to be jailed. And he says he hopes that an actor who has testified that he has lost his livelihood will be given the opportunity to resume his career.

Nation World News Desk
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