Exclusive: Police Supt. Johnson discusses how Smollett case has impacted city, future of actor

The Jussie Smollett case has brought the world's attention to Chicago, prompting an angry Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson to tell reporters about how Smollett had staged a fake hate crime that was not only damaging to his family and friends but also the city and future victims.  

Several weeks after that news conference, Superintendent Johnson sat down with FOX 32 to discuss the case. 

"I don't like Chicago getting beat up on all the time,” he said. "I was angry, and I was angry that we were in the national spotlight for something like that, and actually international spotlight. We were getting calls from overseas about this for something that negative."

Superintendent Johnson said when he walked into the news conference, he couldn't believe what was waiting for him.

"I'll tell you this when I walked into that room and saw the huge media presence, I just thought to myself, ‘wow this is what it took to get a lot of attention to some of the things I have going on here.’ I just felt like looking out to that crowd, ‘why doesn't the gun violence victims get this kind of attention?’”

The superintendent also appeared on national television, voicing his concerns about the manpower and resources this case required. He fears the Smollett story will cast future doubt on other victim's stories, leaving the public skeptical.

"What I would want him to learn from this and people in general is you can impact not just yourself, not just your family, but a city a state a country,” he said. “Think about this for a moment: had something of this nature occurred in the middle of the summer when tensions are already high, an 80-degree night and people are just angry for different things, this could have been the lightning rod to send this city over the edge.”

Smollett now faces 16 counts of falsely reporting to police. Each count carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

"Do I want this kid to go to jail for the rest of his life? Of course not,” he said. “The best thing that can happen from this is he learned from it. It was a mistake, a huge mistake, but if it's a teachable moment for not just him but for the city and this country, then so be it."

Smollett has denied making up the attack. He's pleaded not guilty to one of the charges filed against him, and his lawyer has called the case "prosecutorial overkill."