Jussie Smollett is in the very beginning stages of his sentence, but things already appear to be going awry. The Empire actor was sentenced to 150 days at the Leighton Courthouse in Chicago on March 10. Since then, his family and a group of fans and supporters have been rallying for the justice system to free him. As a result, many details are now coming to light around Jussie Smollett’s first five days behind bars.
The moment that the judge reined his decision to place Jussie Smollett in incarceration, the actor almost immediately broke out in an outburst. First, standing up and pulling down his mask, Jussie Smollett declared, “I am not suicidal.” Then, adding that he respected the judge’s decision, the Marshall actor proceeded to proclaim that he was innocent. “And, if anything happens to me when I go in there, I did not do it to myself,” shouted Jussie Smollett. “And you must all know that.”
Jussie Smollett was immediately remanded to custody to serve out his sentence. The actor was also ordered to pay the city of Chicago over $120k in restitution, $25k in fines, and given 30 months probation. Jussie Smollett’s outburst could have been motivated by his fears of what could potentially happen to him behind bars. With all the talks of corruption in the city of Chicago’s law enforcement and the sensitivity of the details surrounding the case, the actor’s claims could be valid. For the last couple of years Chicago has been named the most political corrupt city in the country, while Illinois was listed the third state in the country. Either way, a multitude of fans have heard his cries and are acting in demonstration.
Recent news reports state that Jussie Smollett was placed in protective custody at the Cook County Jail. According to a news report from NBC Chicago, Smollett’s attorneys claim he’s “doing well” on his second day behind bars. At the same time, they are pushing for an immediate release from Cook County. NBC Chicago states that Jussie Smollett has been placed in his own cell with no other inmates and security cameras for extra surveillance. The actor is being guarded by an officer that is equipped with a body cam. He can also enter the common area where he can interact with staff, make phone calls, and watch television.
A member of Jussie Smollett’s legal team shared that he’s in “good spirits” and is strong. The reporter also shared that jail officials insist the claims of Smollett being held in solitary confinement are “not true” as it was outlawed in 2016. But Jussie Smollett’s brother, Jocqui Smollett, is disputing these claims. The actor’s Instagram account is currently being run by his family. Jocqui came forward with shares that Jussie Smollett is being held in Cook County’s psych ward.
A concerned Jocqui Smollett alleged that a note was attached to his brother’s paperwork and placed in front of his cell that he could potentially harm himself. “I want to just make it clear to folks that he is in no way, shape, or form at risk of self-harm,” said Jocqui. He added Jussie’s statements that he is holding stable, strong, healthy, and “ready to take on the challenge that ultimately has been put up against him.”
Also giving an update is activist Patrisse Cullors. According to Cullors, what is occurring to Jussie Smollett is “unacceptable.” She claims that he had been sleeping on a restrained bed for the last few days and that this would be the first night he was able to have his own bed. Jocqui Smollett confirmed in a more recent video that Jussie was finally moved out of the ward and given his own bed. Cullors shared that the plans for Smollett’s appeal are entirely in motion. The decision as to whether he will be granted an early release should be known “no later than Wednesday” of this week.
Concerns were immediately heightened as well when news erupted that a small fire occurred in a cell at the Cook County Jail on Sunday, March 13. However, ABC 7 Chicago reports that Jussie Smollett’s cell was nowhere near where the fire took place.
Along with Patrisse Cullors, Jussie Smollett’s family and friends are asking for fans to call en masse to the Cook County and provided the number to do so. They also state that using the hashtag #FreeJussie would continue to help bring awareness. Smollett’s family claims since his sentencing, they have received many threatening calls and they want him released immediately. His family also is concerned the actor could potentially catch COVID while serving his sentence. Newsweek reports that a dozen of his fans showed up recently at Cook county in protest of his sentence.