"We were angry that there isn't the focus on so many other crimes and people's lives that are lost in Chicago."
For once, all the ladies of the "The View" seemed to agree on something: the $150,000 spent on the Jussie Smollett case could have been spent fighting the many violent crimes that occur daily in Chicago.
The actor escaped prosecution after being accused of filing a fake police report in a case that has gripped the nation with its unprecedented twists and turns; as Behar put it at the beginning of the show: "Jussie Smollett's real life as more plot twists than an episode of 'Empire.'"
During the first "Hot Topics" segment, the women voiced their concern over the massive amounts of police resources used on Smollet's case.
McCain railed on Smollett, slamming him for politicizing a possible hate crime in a city that already has a high crime rate. Smollett claimed he had been the victim of a racist and homophobic assault in January, with his assailants shouting "this is MAGA country."
"Chicago spent a $150,000 on this case, that money could have been spent fighting all the violent crimes going on in Chicago, that are absolutely raging this city," McCain said."So my anger is he completely politicized this when he was on with our own Robin Roberts and said 'I go after 45 hard,'" she continued, referring to President Donald Trump. "So do I [go after him]... but I'm not being beat up in the street."
"He completely politicized this when our country is ripping itself apart in every way," she added. "He made this about MAGA hats. He made this about Trump supporters. He made this about the political divisions in the country... That was where I always had a problem, had he extracted politics from it...I just thought it was strange from day one."
ALL CHARGES AGAINST JUSSIE SMOLLETT DROPPED: Prosecutors dropped all 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct against the 'Empire' actor after he claimed he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack. The co-hosts share their thoughts and reactions. https://t.co/xLdIFFvK8p pic.twitter.com/cB2LpXfM3S
After showing a clip from the Chicago P.D. press conference following Smollett's charges being dropped -- where the police claimed justice wasn't served and Smollett owes the city an apology -- Huntsman said, "There's a reason I think why we all feel so confused here, because when we watched that [clip] we were angry with the police. We were angry that there isn't the focus on so many other crimes and people lives that are lost in Chicago."
Earlier in the conversation, Hostin, who is a former attorney, pointed out how each side -- both Smollett and the prosecution -- feels as if they won something in the case. "It's a little confusing for me because cases are dismissed all the time," Hostin said. "But in this case what just seems strange to me is that you have the police department feeling like they were blindsided by it."
She added, "It's usually a team effort because you have the prosecution, you have the police department, you work as a team and we're talking about 16 counts and an indictment and tremendous amounts of police resources spent on it. And at the end of the day, the case has been sealed, $10,000 in restitution has been paid, two days of community service and every single side is claiming victory."
After the weeks-long investigation, Chicago PD claimed Smollett had orchestrated the attack on himself. Prosecutors also believe he is guilty, but that his $10,000 forfeiture and 16 hours community service is enough to pay for the misdeed, as their attention is needed on more violent crimes.
Following the court's shock decision on Tuesday, Smollett's attorneys released a statement:
Today, all criminal charges against Jussie Smollett were dropped and his record has been wiped clean of the filing of this tragic complaint against him. Jussie was attacked by 2 people he was unable to identify on January 29th. He was a victim who was vilified and made to appear as a perpetrator as a result of false and inappropriate remarks made to the public, causing an inappropriate rush to judgment.
Jussie and many others were hurt by these unfair and unwarranted actions. This entire situation is a reminder that there should never be an attempt to prove a case in the court of public opinion. That is wrong. It is a reminder that a victim, in this case Jussie, deserves dignity and respect. Dismissal of charges against the victim in this case was the only just result.
Jussie is relieved to have this situation behind him and is very much looking forward to getting back to focusing on his family, friends and career.