The family of former ‘Empire’ actor, Jussie Smollett, has revealed that Jussie has been put in a psychiatric ward and considered a suicide risk, despite the family claiming he is mentally sound.
It’s the latest twist in the fate of Smollett, who was convicted in December 2021, of faking a 2019 hate crime against himself, in what police said was an attempt to build public sympathy.
Smollett’s brother, Jocqui Smollett, giving an account of what happened in a video posted on Instagram said: “What’s very concerning is that there was a note attached to his paperwork today saying that he’s at risk of self-harm. He is in no way, shape, or form at risk of self-harm. He is very stable. He is very strong. He is very healthy and ready to take on the challenge that has ultimately been put up against him”.
Meanwhile, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office (CSSO) did not directly disclose whether Smollett was under mental health watch, though it noted in a statement he is not in solitary confinement, instead, he is being held “under direct observation at all times” in his cell.
“These protocols are routinely used for individuals ordered into protective custody who may potentially be at risk of harm due to the nature of their charges, their profession, or their noteworthy status”, the CSSO mentioned in its statement. “The safety and security of all detained individuals, including Mr. Smollett, is the Sheriff’s Office’s highest priority”.
Smollett Family Launch Campaign
The TV star’s family has been mounting a #FreeJussie campaign on social media since the actor was sentenced to five months in prison for staging the attack against himself and lying to police. Smollett was also ordered to serve 30 months of felony probation and pay $121,106 in restitution to the city of Chicago, as well as a $25,000 fine.
“Black Americans are incarcerated in state prisons at nearly five times the rate of White Americans. Jussie is innocent”, the Smollett family wrote on social media. “You don’t have to believe in his innocence to believe he should be free”.
Jussie Smollett asked in February for a new trial, arguing the jury selection process created “questionable impartiality” during the case itself. In December, the actor was found guilty on five of six charges related to claims he made in 2019 that he was the victim of an anti-Black and anti-gay hate attack in Chicago.
Police later detained two men, who disclosed they had been recruited by Smollett to stage the attack, which he denies.
After his conviction, a special prosecutor sharply criticized the Empire actor for a “completely ridiculously story” that wasted public time and resources.
Special Prosecutor, Mr. Webb at the time said: “Twenty-six Chicago officers spent 3,000 hours of time costing the city well over $100,000 for a fake crime that never occurred. And by the way, a fake crime that denigrates what a real-hate crime is and to use these meanings and symbols that are so important in our society. It’s clear why the police would take it seriously”.
According to reports, the case had a long and winding history. The charges against Smollett were initially dropped, before being renewed under the appointment of the special prosecutor. The city of Chicago has an ongoing civil suit against Smollett for wasting police resources.