BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — With the arrest of Jussie Smollett on false hate crime accusations, Suffok District Attorney Rachael Rollins is worried that the alleged hoax attack might lead to victims of real hate crimes not being believed.
“Honestly, it’s sad…it’s just sad," Rollins said. "I don’t know whether he’s suffering from mental health issues or what, but it is making people question the real individuals that are targeted based on protected categories."
Rollins, who is Suffolk County's first woman of color to be elected as District Attorney, noted that here in Massachusetts, a jury recently found a man guilty for terrorizing a Moroccan woman based on her religion and wearing a hijab headpiece.
She praised Chicago Police, who have been investigating the Smollett case.
"I'm proud law enforcement is following the evidence," she said. "I don't think they jumped to conclusions, which is what we would hope."
Darnell Williams, President of the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts is taking more of a wait-and-see approach.
"We don't know all of the facts, we don't know what happened, we only know what we are being told," Williams said. "We have to be very, very careful. It's complex, it's loaded. The court says innocent until proven guilty. We don't know all of the nuances and the facts—we only know what we've been told."
"People are smart enough to know that we need to look at each case on its own merits, and not judge one case and then make that become the de facto standard that we want to evaluate everybody else by," he added.
WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe (@KimWBZ) reports