Al Sharpton Defends Chicago Prosecutor in Jussie Smollett Case, Accuses Rahm Emanuel of ‘Hypocrisy’ Over Reaction to Laquan McDonald Murder

The Rev. Al Sharpton touched on historical and political issues, including the recent case of Jussie Smollett, during a visit to Rainbow/PUSH Coalition on Saturday. (Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune)
The Rev. Al Sharpton touched on historical and political issues, including the recent case of Jussie Smollett, during a visit to Rainbow/PUSH Coalition on Saturday. (Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune)

The Rev. Al Sharpton portrayed Mayor Rahm Emanuel as a hypocrite Saturday for criticizing Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s handling of the Jussie Smollett case when the mayor long was silent on the police murder of Laquan McDonald.

For days, Emanuel has been sharply criticizing the decision by Foxx’s office to allow Smollett to walk in the case, after Chicago police collected evidence that showed the “Empire” actor allegedly staged a racist and homophobic attack on himself. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Sharpton described Emanuel’s behavior as “Hypocrisy 101.”

“The reason this is of national significance to me, there is a marked difference between how they reacted to this and how they reacted to the Laquan McDonald case. They were not outraged when the video was withheld until after the mayor’s election,” Sharpton said of Emanuel, police Superintendent Eddie Johnson and other top police officials. “There was a fox in the henhouse then, but the fox wasn’t Kim then. The name of that fox was whoever was in the mayor’s race.”

Emanuel spokesman Matt McGrath said, “This isn’t worthy of a response.”

Sharpton made the remarks during a Saturday visit to Chicago to give a keynote speech at the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition. The purpose of Sharpton’s visit was to preach black unity in the mayor’s race between former federal prosecutor Lori Lightfoot and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, one of whom on Tuesday will be elected Chicago’s first African-American female mayor.

But during a rousing 20-minute sermon before an energetic crowd at PUSH’s South Side headquarters, Sharpton also offered a full-throated defense of Foxx, a former top aide to Preckwinkle who has served as the county’s top prosecutor since 2016. In doing so, he recalled Emanuel’s handling of the 2014 shooting of McDonald.

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SOURCE: Bill Ruthhart
Chicago Tribune