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Chicago police chief slams disproportionate Jussie Smollett coverage

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Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson broke away from talking about the arrest of “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett on Thursday morning, to chide media outlets for their disproportionate coverage of the saga.

Johnson held the press conference to discuss the arrest of 36-year-old Smollett on suspicion of staging a hate crime against himself, which police say he invented because he was “dissatisfied with his salary”.

Johnson, looking out over the sea of journalists who attended the press conference, noted that media outlets fail to devote the same resources to the victims of the gun violence epidemic that has plagued the city in recent years.

“Guys, I look out into the crowd, I just wish that the families of gun violence in this city got this much attention,” he said. “Because that’s who really deserves the amount of attention that we’re giving to this particular incident.”

Read more: Chicago Police laid into Jussie Smollett after his arrest, saying he made up a homophobic attack as a ‘publicity stunt’ because he wanted a bigger salary

Actor Jussie Smollett, 36, appears in a booking photo provided by the Chicago Police Department in Chicago, Illinois on February 21, 2019.
Courtesy Chicago Police Department/Handout via REUTERS

Since 2016, Chicago has struggled with astonishing violent crime rates, including thousands of shootings and hundreds of homicides per year. According to the Chicago Police Department data gathered by the Chicago Sun Times, 555 people were murdered in the city in 2018, down from 664 in 2017 and 781 the year before.

The city also logged 2,355 shooting incidents in 2018 and 2,750 in 2017, according to the Sun Times.

Johnson wasn’t the only one to notice the disproportionate attention given to the Smollett case on Thursday.

Chicago Sun-Times reporter Sam Charles noted that he’d never seen so many cameras at a police press conference — including one held after a video was released showing that a police officer fatally shot a black teenager 16 times.

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