Chicago (CBS) — “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett’s 16 felony counts were dropped Tuesday after he had completed 16 hours of community service and agreed to forfeit his $10,000 bond.
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office said they’ve handled 5,700 cases the same way in the past two years. Terrae Washington is a perfect example of a low-level felony offender who had his charges dropped in Cook County, but he said Jussie Smollett is not.READ MORE: Small Plane Lands On I-355 At 159th Street In New Lenox; Pilot, 3 Passengers Suffer Injuries
Washington 23, said last summer, unbeknownst to him, a friend put a large amount of marijuana in his trunk. When Washington was pulled over, he ended up in jail.
“I wound up taking the blame for something I didn’t do,” Washington said.
But the 23-year-old with no prior criminal record was considered a perfect candidate for an “alternative to prosecution.” In exchange for 50 hours of community service, his charges were dropped. Washington was thrilled but said it was hard completing the community service and working his two jobs. He couldn’t believe Smollett only had to work 16.
“Sixteen, wow. I had to do a whole 50 and I’m working full time,” Washington said. “Someone like me would have to do it the hard way, do all my community service and have to work.”READ MORE: FBI Seeking Public's Help Finding Devontay Anderson; Feds Say Third Suspect Charged In Killing Of Jaslyn Adams Fled State To Avoid Prosecution
He was also shocked that the treatment of his case is being compared in any way to the “Empire” actor’s.
While both felonies give them a bad name, he argues Smollett’s had damaging effects for the city of Chicago.
“I didn’t lie and say anyone did anything to me. I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Washington said.
His family agrees.
Washington’s aunt says it wasted taxpayers’ money that police could have spent fighting crime.MORE NEWS: 'I Was Excited': Kids Talk About Getting Their First COVID Shot
The state’s attorney’s office has not commented on Washington’s case and has not provided examples where charges were dropped that involved making false reports.