Jussie Smollett and the MAGA hat that never was

Chelli Stanley Jan 29, 2021 at 10:00am

January 29, 2021 at 10:00 am | Opinions & Features

Chelli Stanley

Chelli Stanley | Contributor

January 29, 2021 at 10:00 am | Opinions & Features

Jussie Smollett makes a court appearance at the Leighton Criminal Court Building in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., March 14, 2019. E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune/Pool via REUTERS

It’s been two years since Jussie Smollett reported that he was attacked by two men who called him a F—-t N—-r, and then told him, “This is MAGA country, N—-r.”

The Chicago police immediately became outspoken, giving constant updates to the public, holding press conferences and going on TV shows, culminating in publicly building what they considered to be an airtight case against Jussie. They indicted him and charged him with 16 felonies for lying to them.

The Chicago police’s beautiful airtight case against Jussie is actually something else entirely.  …This is the Chicago police department we’re talking about. What they actually did was document their own misconduct in myriad ways, and gave stunning proof into how police departments fabricate evidence.

You see, Jussie never reported a red hat. He never said anything about a MAGA hat. 

One of the witnesses, a Sheraton hotel guard who saw the two attackers running from the scene immediately after the attack, also did not report a red hat. In fact, both Jussie and the guard gave the Chicago police (CPD) the exact same description of the man they saw: a White man, 6ft tall, wearing a black face mask. (p39 & 237). Neither Jussie nor the guard saw the second man’s face. The second man purposefully hid his face from the Sheraton guard, which is noted in CPD’s February 1st, 2019 report. (p237)

During the interview on ABC, Jussie clearly stated there were no red hats, saying, “I never said that. I didn’t need to add anything like that. They called me a F—-t.  They called me a N—-r.  I don’t need some MAGA hat as the cherry on top of some racist sundae.”

He also told this to CPD directly. On January 30, 2019, the day after the attack, he told Detective Murray, (who, incidentally, has been formally accused of using homophobic slurs against a Black man) that he “never said anything about a MAGA hat.” (p260)

But, by that time, the story had already taken on a life of its own, and most people believed that the attackers were wearing MAGA hats. 

If only CPD had listened to Jussie, then CPD would not have revealed their own misconduct so intricately, so astonishingly, so stunningly, for all the world to see.

Because, no one reported a red hat.

However, many people throughout the world will remember seeing a photo, which was used as proof that Jussie lied, that there was no hate crime, and that he and the Nigerian-American Osundairo brothers were involved in a preposterous hoax.

The detective who says he found the video of these brothers buying a red hat is none other than Detective Richard Hagen, who was sued by Laquan McDonald’s family for covering up a Chicago police officer murdering the child, after Laquan was shot 16 times. The City of Chicago paid $5 million to settle the lawsuit. 

Detective Hagen reports that to find this red hat video, he engaged in investigative work that is a little difficult to believe.

Detective Hagen and his colleague Detective Parages report that they searched beauty stores to see which ones sold red hats and discovered that only one did. (p320) They went to this store, and Detective Hagen writes that “at the suggestion of Detective Parages, Detective Hagen checked the video at around 10 am.” (p347) 

What luck for Detectives Hagen and Parages! With just that much work, they were able to “observe two subjects enter the store and purchase several items, which included gloves, face masks, and a red hat.” (p347-348)

Detective Hagen‘s report focuses intently on the red hat. He writes that various camera angles show the brothers with the red hat, including walking “around the isle with a red baseball cap in hand” and walking “to the counter placing several items on counter, including a red hat.” (p348-349)

Detective Hagen says he found the red hat video on February 16, 2019, when the Osundairo brothers were at a hotel under CPD’s “24 hour surveillance and security” (p355), supposedly to protect the brothers from the media. The brothers were put under this “24 hour surveillance and security” after being subjected to police misconduct during their interviews.

The Osundairo brothers were under “24 hour surveillance and security” until CPD took them to testify at the grand jury on February 20, 2019, the very same day the video of them buying a red hat was leaked to the media and broadcast widely, causing quite a stir. The next day, Jussie was indicted by CPD, who declared that he was nothing but a liar.

While CPD may have, in the short term, seemed like they built an airtight case against Jussie, what they actually did was greatly overplay their hand. Because no one reported a red hat. No one reported a MAGA hat. Yet CPD focused their investigation on finding stores that sold red hats, and then very easily found a video of two Nigerian brothers buying a red hat.

Yes, if CPD had only listened to Jussie, who told them that he never said anything about a MAGA hat, and if only CPD had read their own initial police reports which said nothing about the attackers wearing a red hat, then CPD could have avoided a stunning spectacle.

Because, not only did CPD fabricate evidence, they incompetently fabricated the wrong evidence on the world’s stage.

They did this, of course, after they hid all the video evidence and witnesses that clearly showed there was at least one White masked man at the attack, and after they lied repeatedly to the public, telling us that they found no videos or witnesses at all. 

But, CPD never really did listen to Jussie in this case, after he reluctantly reported the hate crime. They didn’t listen to Jussie about what the attackers looked like, they didn’t listen to him about what the attackers were wearing, and they definitely didn’t listen to him when he told them about a hate crime.

Instead, CPD took the story and put their own spin on it so that it literally became CPD’s story that the world heard. But, in the end, a simple red MAGA hat will be their undoing. In the end, that very MAGA hat will clear Jussie’s name. 

In the end, a MAGA hat will reveal to the world that CPD brazenly lied to us all, wasted all of our time, and purposefully confused probably a billion people, who have remained confused for two years. In the end, the MAGA hat that never was will be the thing that puts CPD under the gaze of the world, but this time, everyone will be looking directly at them.

**If you want to read the police reports and check page numbers, see this document: https://www.scribd.com/document/411963195/Jussie-Smollett

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