WASHINGTON (TND) — Actor Jussie Smollett, on trial for allegedly faking a hate crime in 2019, is receiving support from Black Lives Matter in a statement from one of its directors arguing police can “never” be trusted.
Smollett is being charged with six felony counts of disorderly conduct in a case where witnesses allegedly told police Smollett paid them to help him stage a hate crime, according to ABC News.
“In an abolitionist society, this trial would not be taking place,” read the statement from Dr. Melina Abdullah, Director of BLM Grassroots and Co-Founder of BLM Los Angeles.
Instead, we find ourselves, once again, being forced to put our lives and our value in the hands of judges and juries operating in a system that is designed to oppress us,” continued Abdullah’s statement, “while continuing to face a corrupt and violent police department, which has proven time and again to have no respect for our lives.
Abdullah wrote in the statement that alongside a “commitment to abolition, we can never believe police, especially the Chicago Police Department (CPD) over Jussie Smollett.”
The two suspects implicated in what Smollett alleged was a violent attack against him, including anti-gay, racist and pro-Trump remarks, reportedly told police Smollett asked them to help him concoct the hoax, according to ABC News. They said Smollett was allegedly disappointed by the lack of attention a threatening letter sent to his work received.
The jury enters its second day of deliberations Thursday. In Illinois, filing a false police report is a class 4 felony, which carries a sentence ranging from one to three years behind bars and fines of up to $25,000.
Smollett also faces a civil lawsuit from the City of Chicago over the costs associated with investigating “Mr. Smollett’s false statements,” TMZ reported.