Smollett saga shook public trust, heightened racial tensions

Actor Jussie Smollett’s journey from hate-crime victim to defendant reverberated well beyond Chicago by shaking the public trust and exposing the country’s deep racial wounds.

The saga also damaged Smollett’s acting career and his advocacy for African-Americans and LGBT issues. Left behind are hurt and blame and many questions that will likely go unanswered.

Police and many in the black community initially rallied to his defense before condemning his account as a hoax.

Michael Eric Dyson is a Georgetown University sociologist. He says the outcome doesn’t help the police or black activism or Smollett.

On Tuesday, prosecutors dropped the criminal case that had loomed over Smollett for weeks. In return, they said, Smollett forfeited $10,000 in bail and did community service. He thanked fans and maintained his version of events.