Chicago PD superintendent: 'Shameful' Jussie Smollett 'publicity stunt' motivated by dissatisfaction with 'Empire' salary

Eddie T. Johnson, the Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department, said during a Thursday press conference that Jussie Smollett's "publicity stunt" was motivated by dissatisfaction with his "Empire" salary.

Johnson said that Smollett sent himself the ransom-style letter that appeared prior to the Jan. 29 incident. "When that didn't work, Smollett paid $3,500 to stage this attack and drag Chicago's reputation through the mud in the process," he said, later confirming that police have seen the check Smollett wrote to pay off two men.

Smollett's current "Empire" salary pays him $65,000 per episode, according to HuffPost. There are approximately 18 episodes per season of the hit Fox show.

Johnson strongly condemned Smollett's alleged actions, calling it "shameful" that the actor "took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to advance his career."

"As a black man who spent his entire life living in the city of Chicago, I know the racial divide that exists here," Johnson said. "I know how hard it's been for our city and our nation to come together ... How can an individual who's been embraced by the city of Chicago turn around and slap everyone in this city in the face by making these false claims?"

16 PHOTOS
Jussie Smollett out and about
See Gallery
Jussie Smollett out and about
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 06: Jussie Smollett speaks at the Children's Defense Fund California's 28th Annual Beat The Odds Awards at Skirball Cultural Center on December 6, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - JANUARY 21: Jussie Smollett is seen at NATPE Miami 2019 - Tyler Perry Keynote 'Living the Dream: A Career in Content' at the Fontainebleau Hotel on January 21, 2019 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 01: Jussie Smollett performs onstage during amfAR Dance2Cure at Bardot on December 1, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 02: Jussie Smollett attends The Trevor Project's 2018 TrevorLIVE Gala at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on December 02, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 01: Jussie Smollett attends the Black AIDS Institute's 2018 Heroes in The Struggle Gala at California African American Museum on December 01, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rachel Luna/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 14: Jussie Smollett attends SAG-AFTRA Foundation Conversations: 'Empire' at The Robin Williams Center on November 14, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Santiago Felipe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 14: Actor Jussie Smollett is seen in Midtown on November 14, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 14: Actor and activist Jussie Smollett visits Build Series to discuss the TV show 'Empire' and his work for charitable causes at Build Studio on November 14, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 01: Jussie Smollett performs onstage at Espolòn Celebrates Day of the Dead at Academy Nightclub on November 1, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Tasia Wells/Getty Images for Espolòn)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 16: Jussie Smollett attends a meet & greet at Bloomingdale's on October 16, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Shareif Ziyadat/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 22: Jussie Smollett speaks during the 'Empire' season 5 world premiere during the 2018 Tribeca TV Festival at Spring Studios on September 22, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Dominik Bindl/Getty Images for Tribeca TV)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 15: Jussie Smollett attends the Entertainment Weekly Pre-Emmy Party 2018 at Sunset Tower Hotel on September 15, 2018 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 30: Actor Jussie Smollett attends the 2018 BMI R&B/Hip-Hop Awards at Woodruff Arts Center on August 30, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BMI)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - AUGUST 02: Fergie (L) and Jussie Smollett attend the FOX Summer TCA 2018 All-Star Party at Soho House on August 2, 2018 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - JULY 07: Actor/singer Jussie Smollett attends the 2018 Essence Festival - Night 2 at Louisiana Superdome on July 7, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Paras Griffin/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 22: Jussie Smollet performs during Acoustically Speaking, sponsored by M&Ms, during the 2018 BET Experience at Los Angeles Convention Center on June 22, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Maury Phillips/Getty Images for BET)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

In his original Jan. 29 report to police, Smollett said two men yelled racial and homophobic slurs as they attacked him with rope and bleach. When authorities arrived 45 minutes after the alleged attack, Smollett still had a rope around his neck, piquing some immediate police suspicion, according to TMZ.

The minor wounds Smollett showed police were "likely self-inflicted," Johnson said.

Smollett was arrested and put in police custody on Thursday. Felony charges against him were approved on Wednesday. The actor could face up to three years in prison if convicted.

Johnson also noted that while the case has received relentless scrutiny from the public -- "Celebrities, news commentators and even presidential candidates weighed in on something that was choreographed by an actor" -- the Chicago PD has not given this particular investigation more attentiveness than any other one.

"I wish the families of gun violence in this city got so much attention," Johnson said.

RELATED: Celebrity mug shots

28 PHOTOS
Famous mug shots
See Gallery
Famous mug shots

Rose McGowan, 2017

Rose McGowan turned herself in on a warrant for felony possession of a controlled substance in Virginia.

(Photo by Loudoun County Sheriff's Office via Getty Images)

R. Kelly, 2003

R. Kelly was arrested on charges of child pornography after police found pictures of Kelly engaging in a sex act with an underage girl.

(Photo by Dade County Jail/Getty Images)

Michael Jackson, 2003

The late superstar was arrested on multiple counts of child molestation in Santa Barbara, Calif., after the release of the documentary "Living with Michael Jackson," which portrayed Jackson in a controversial scene with a young boy. After a very public 5-month trial, Jackson was acquitted on all counts in June 2005.

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Justin Bieber, 2014

The infamous pop star was arrested in January in Miami and was charged with drunken driving, resisting arrest and driving without a valid license after Miami Beach Police caught him street racing. He was released on a $2,500 bond.

Miami-Dade Police Department via Getty Images

Lindsay Lohan, 2007

The troubled actress, who had just completed a stint in rehab, was arrested in Santa Monica, Calif., and was charged with drunken driving and cocaine possession. She was released on $25,000 dollars bail.

Santa Monica Police Department via Getty Images

Amanda Bynes, 2012

Bynes was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in West Hollywood, Calif., after side-sweeping a police car. She spent several hours in jail before being released on $5,000 bail.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office via Getty Images

O.J. Simpson, 1994

Simpson was arrested in Los Angeles, Calif., and was charged with the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. He was acquitted in 1995 after a highly-publicized trial.

Online USA, Inc.

Robert Downey, Jr., 2001

The actor was arrested in Culver City, Calif., for being under the influence of a controlled substance. Although he only spent a few hours in jail, the arrest cost him several important acting roles.

Liaison

Larry King, 1971

The television host was arrested for grand larceny in Miami after failing to pay money he owed to a business partner. The charge was dismissed by a judge, but King pleaded no contest to a charge of passing bad checks.

Getty

Rodney King, 2011

King was charged with two misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Riverside, Calif. He was released on $2,500 bail.

Riverside County Sheriff's Department via Getty Images

Paris Hilton, 2007

The heiress was pulled over by Los Angeles police for speeding and was caught driving with a suspended license. It was also made known that she had failed to enroll in a mandatory alcohol education program. Hilton was found to have violated her probation from a previous sentence and was ordered to spend 45 days in jail.

Los Angeles Sheriff's Department via Getty Images

James Brown, 2004

The musician was arrested in South Carolina on a domestic violence charge. He pleaded no contest, but didn't serve any jail time.

Aiken County Sheriff's Office via Getty Images

Michelle Rodriguez, 2007

The actress was arrested for violating her probation after failing to complete her required community service hours and alcohol education course from a hit-and-run case. She was sentenced to 180 days in jail, but was released after 18 days due to overcrowding.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department via Getty Images

Kiefer Sutherland, 2007

Sutherland surrendered to police to serve a 48-day jail sentence after pleading guilty to a second drunk driving offense.

Photo by Glendale City Police Department via Getty Images

Mel Gibson, 2006

Gibson was arrested for drunk driving after he was caught speeding and had a blood alcohol reading of 0.12 percent according to authorities. He pleaded no contest and was sentenced to three years probation.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department via Getty Images

Brooke Mueller, 2011

Charlie Sheen's troubled ex-wife was arrested and charged with assault and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute in Aspen, Colo. She was released on $11,000 bail.

Aspen Police Department via Getty Images

Rush Limbaugh, 2006

Limbaugh turned himself in to authorities on a warrant for fraud to conceal information to obtain prescriptions. His record was eventually expunged.

Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office via Getty Images

Bruno Mars, 2010

The singer was arrested in Las Vegas and charged with possession of a controlled substance after officers found him with 2.6 grams of cocaine. He pleaded guilty to cocaine possession and was sentenced to one year probation.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department via Getty Images

Richard Sambora, 2008 

The Bon Jovi guitarist was arrested in Laguna Beach, Calif., on suspicion of driving under the influence. He pleaded no contest and received three years probation.

Heather Locklear, 2008

Locklear was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of a controlled substance in Santa Barbara, Calif. She was released on $5,000 bail.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Dept. via Getty Images

Mischa Barton, 2007

The actress was arrested on a drunk driving charge in Los Angeles. She was released on $10,000 bail.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department via Getty Images

Floyd Mayweather Jr., 2010 

The boxer was arrested for a misdemeanor battery warrant at a Las Vegas casino. He was released after posting $3,000 bail.

Las Vegas Police Department via Getty Images

Vanilla Ice, 2008

The rapper, whose real name is Robert Van Winkle, was arrested in Palm Beach, Fla., for allegedly assaulting his wife. He was released the following day.

Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office via Getty Images

Hugh Grant, 1995

The actor was arrested in Los Angeles for misdemeanor lewd conduct after being caught with prostitute Divine Brown. He pleaded no contest and was fined and placed on two years' probation.

WireImage

50 Cent, 1994

The rapper, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, served time in  a shock incarceration boot camp after pleading guilty to felony heroin and cocaine charges.

Getty

Frank Sinatra, 1938

Sinatra was arrested for adultery and seduction in New Jersey. The charge was eventually dismissed.

Getty

Zsa Zsa Gabor, 1989

Gabor was arrested in Beverly Hills, Calif., and was accused of slapping police officer Paul Kramer in the face when he stopped her for a traffic violation. She was later convicted of the charge and sentenced to three days in jail.

Getty

Charles Ponzi, 1920

The famous con artist served three-and-a-half years in federal prison after being convicted of mail fraud.

Getty

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Read Full Story

Sign up for Entertainment Insider by AOL to get the hottest pop culture news delivered straight to your inbox!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.