The city of Chicago is suing Jussie Smollett to cover the costs of police overtime used during the investigation of the “Empire” actor’s report of a hate crime.
The city announced its lawsuit in a statement Thursday, noting that Smollett’s refusal to reimburse the city for the investigation as a reason for the civil suit. In the complaint, officials said the city of Chicago “incurred significant costs” while investigating Smollett’s report of a racist attack, which police later said was staged.
City officials previously ordered Smollett to pay the city $130,106 for the overtime incurred by “over two dozen detectives and police officers” who spent weeks looking into his claims.
Last week, Smollett’s lawyers sent a letter to city officials warning them against suing the actor, the Chicago Tribune reported. Smollett “will not be intimidated into paying the demanded sum,” the letter said.
In February, Smollett was arrested and charged with filing a false police report weeks after he told police he was a victim of a racist and homophobic attack. In his police report, Smollett said two masked men wrapped a rope around his neck, poured a liquid on him and yelled slurs at him in the early hours of Jan. 29.
An Illinois prosecutor dropped the 16-count indictment brought against Smollett in late March, though the state attorney’s office said it continued to stand behind the investigation into the actor’s allegedly false report.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a Democrat, criticized prosecutors for dropping the charges against Smollett, calling it a “whitewash of justice” and claiming the actor was “let off scot-free” because he was famous.
“You cannot have, because of a person’s position, one set of rules apply to them and another set of rules apply to everybody else,” Emanuel said in late March.