INTERPOLs Project Stadia and its Lasting Impact on Venue Safety

World sporting events such as the FIFA World Cup and the Olympics are the most attended and watched sporting events in the world. Not only does the mass number of people attending these events present a unique safety issue for officials, but these sporting events are also often hosted in large, populated cities, which attracts a wide variety of criminal activity that must be planned for and dealt with. INTERPOL’s Project Stadia aims to do just that – “..create a Centre of Excellence to help our member countries in planning and executing policing and security preparations for hosting major international events.”

Since the dawn of the FIFA World Cup, the attendance seen at the varying large host cities has exponentially increased. in the 1970 Mexico World Cup, the total attendance sat at ~1.7 million people. While in the most recent 2018 Russia World Cup, attendance capped out at 3 million people, over a 200% increase from just 40 years prior.

  
The Olympics shows even more staggering statistics – the 2016 summer Olympics held in Rio was estimated to have a worldwide audience of five billion people, with millions of fans traveling from around the globe to watch the world sporting event live.

   
The biggest security risk lies in the host location’s disperse, and populated cities, which can attract a range of saftey concerns – from disorder and violence, to cyber attacks and terrorism – host cities are charged with the task of running a smooth and functional event, without putting the spectator’s and citizen’s safety in jepordy.


Established in 2012 and funded by Qatar, INTERPOL’s Project Stadia is the step toward global safety. “Stadia is a 10-year project will contribute to policing and security arrangements for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar and will leave a lasting legacy for the world’s law enforcement community.”


One of the main goals of Project Stadia is to create a massive knowledge bank of all good practices in the sports and venue safety industry. They do this by gathering the top minds in this space from around the globe, and hold conferences to deliberate and gather the knowledge banks these great minds hold. Just recently, “Project Stadia and the University of Southern Mississippi’s (USM) National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4) held a four-day incident management training course in Lyon, France to strengthen law enforcement and first responder standards in sport venue safety and security.”


This effort is not only valuable for gathering the best practices and information from organizations around the globe, but also offers a chance to train and hone law officials in every country in an effort to advance the standard of event safety. Through these conferences, participants are able to complete six separate training modules and earn the International Sport Safety and Security Professional Certificate, which acts as a benchmark for international sports safety standards.

 
INTERPOL’s Project Stadia is a glimpse into the future for event safety standards. In a world of event safety where we are all interconnected and live under the same practices and learnings, the state of event safety will only grow and transform for the better. 

The World Series – And What’s to Come

After last night’s game, the Washington Nationals hold a 2-0 lead in the World Series. This has a lot of National fans, as well as residents of the DMV area, getting pretty excited, considering before this year, the Nationals had never even made the World Series.

With excitement, and fans rejoicing their favorite team’s accomplishment, also comes riots and potentially dangerous events. Whether it is the World Series, the NBA finals, the World Cup or last but not least, the Super Bowl, it is tradition that folks who are fans of the team who won, go berserk after the game. Streets get shut down, cars get stood on top of, and all sorts of accidents occur as fans all around the country celebrate their team winning it all.

It is extremely important that those who want to celebrate, whether the Nationals hold the lead, or the Astros come back and take the trophy, know the precautions and follow guides on how to safely celebrate with other fans. There are tons of guides that tell fans which streets will be blocked off and what time the parades will be held. Marching the streets with fellow fans is not frowned upon, as it is an American tradition, but it is important to make sure you are not arrested or even worse, hurt in some sort of incident.

In the past, there have been many events where fans took their celebrations to an extreme and ended up either hurt or in legal trouble. In 2014, after the San Francisco Giants won the World Series, the riots got so extreme that people began lighting cars on fire, throwing bottles at police, shattering local businesses windows and so on. This escalated to about 40 arrests being made and two people even getting shot.

Another extremely dangerous riot was held in Downtown, Vancouver after the 2011 Stanley Cup game seven. This riot although, was not in celebration but rather in anger after the Vancouver Canucks were defeated by the Boston Bruins. Fans began rioting in anger, starting with jerseys being burned, which eventually led to cars being flipped and lit on fire, fans of both sides getting stabbed, 140 people getting injured and over three hundred people getting arrested. This was an extremely catastrophic event and is proof of how serious these riots can become.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with celebrating sports, but we need to make sure we abide by the law and celebrate the correct and safe way, especially if the party is about to happen in our nation’s capital, Washington D.C.

SAVE THE O2 ABC

A recent fire at the O2 ABC Venue in Glasgow, Scotland, has sparked a fiery debate on the venue’s ongoing safety issues, and a petition to save the historic property. 

On June 15, 2018, a massive fire erupted in the Glasgow School of Art in the middle of the night, ravishing the building along with nearby structures, which happened to include the O2 ABC venue. With the help of about 120 firefighters, the heroic patrons of public safety were able to extinguish the blaze, and luckily there were no reported casualties.More so, ongoing renovations were in progress in some surrounding buildings, destroying the progress and turning millions of dollars of work into ash. The 02 ABC is no normal building. Rather, it is a top of the line concert venue that has hosted the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Adele and Ed Sheeran – to name a few. Engineers and public officers have recently been at odds on the planned future of the building. On one hand, building engineers have expressed concern over the building’s “extensively damaged and fragile facade”, and have deemed the planned reconstruction too big of a risk to move forward with. On the other hand, public councils have fought back, stating that the building can absolutely be saved. The owner of the historic building also chimed in on the matter, stating: “[The owners] sincerely feel that the continuing failure to recognise and resolve these patent threats to public safety is a continuing calculated risk with the health and safety of the general public.”

Given the venue’s rich cultural and public significance, it is to no surprise that the group Historic Environment Scotland is petitioning the plans to bulldoze the O2 ABC, stating: “The argument for demolishing the building – and wiping out the historic front facade – is ‘not adequately justified’ against national policy.”

This battle is still ongoing, as a decision on the matter has yet to be made. You may feel free to support the great history of Scotland, as a public petition has been made to save a piece of Scotland’s history.  

HOW TO: PLANNING A SAFE EVENT

We’ve covered a lot of topics on event safety over the past few months – from examples of catastrophic event failures, to recent technological innovations in the world of venue safety. Today we will cover the most important topic of them all: how to actually plan and execute a safe event. There are many key steps to ensuring your event and eventgoer’s safety – from planning, coordinating, communication, and execution – let’s go back to the basics and explore how to successfully hold a fun event with a safe environment. Together we’ll run through the mock planning of a Travis Scott concert, due to happen at the end of the year. 

Here’s where we’re at – we have a Travis Scott concert coming up and we’re the head of event management, not only is Travis relying on us to create a safe space for him to do his thing, but also the loyal fans and stakeholders are counting on us to ensure everything goes smoothly and the concert is a success. The planner has both a moral and legal responsibility to keep everyone safe, so it’s vitally important that we get this right. Where do we start? 

Step 1: The Perfect Place

The first step is finding the perfect venue. We must consider many factors when selecting a venue for a concert: 

  • how many people will attend the concert? 
  • Will the venue have enough space to accommodate the number of fans, both seated and standing areas? 
  • What about access for people with disabilities? 
  • Does the venue have it’s own security staff? 

If the venue does not have its own internal security staff, we must hire our own, and make sure everyone is on the same page. As Bruce McIndoe, President of WorldAware stated: “If you go to a place that doesn’t have safety services, you must hire your own…or find a new place, those are your choices, you can’t ignore it.” 

Once we have considered all of those factors, we can pick our perfect venue. For the sake of this example, let’s say the beautiful and safety robust Madison Square Garden in New York City. The next step falls under the planning and preparation phase as well – creating a risk assessment plan. In an ideal and perfect world, every event would run smoothly, yet that is not the case. The unexpected happens all of the time, and it’s important to be prepared for both expected and unexpected risks. 

Step 2: RAP – Risk Assessment Plan 

What exactly is a risk assessment plan you ask? Well, this is a common document that event safety providers fill out that considers all of the potential risks for an event, no matter how big or how small. Not only is it important to identify risks, but extremely important to lay out a plan for each potential risk, and how you and the staff will mitigate it. 

This is a common beginning phase for event planning (there’s even a book for dummies on it), that categorically lays out each potential problem so nothing catches you by surprise. We must consider everything – from venue overviews, temporary infrastructure (stage, stands etc), and electrical systems, to during/post event plans, such as waste disposal, exit paths, medical accommodations, food/drink plans, etc. As this is a common step in event planning, there are templates and checklists you can find online that will ensure all of your bases are covered. 

Along with this risk assessment plan, we must develop a strict plan of action in case of emergency. As we know, expect the unexpected – especially in life threatening situations. Questions we must consider: 

  • How will the staff communicate during an emergency? 
  • What does the on-site response look like? Response time? 
  • Who are the emergency points of contact?  

A great way to create a robust risk assessment plan is through the use of diagram software. A recent innovation in the world of event safety, diagram planning softwares allow you to create a virtual replica of the event, and create a visual representation of exit paths, walkthroughs, and other important factors, up to the most minute of details. 
Once we’ve touched upon each detail of our event, venue, and risks, it’ll be almost time for the concert. We’ve coordinated with all of our suppliers, mapped out MSG via our diagram software, created a plan of action for how the event will run, ran through all of the potential risks, and plans to mitigate them in case of an emergency. The next step is to get on site and provide training. 

Step 3: Training & Communication 

It is so important that everyone is on the same page during an event, so in the final stages before the concert, we must venture down to the actual venue, gather up everyone involved in the event, and provide safety/communication training to make sure everyone knows what to do in case of emergency. 

There are a few different ways to provide event training for staff on hand, but one of the most thorough ways is to hire a respectable outside vendor, such as the Event Safety Alliance. The ESA has regular workshops, training programs, and on-call staff that can come to an event and help train everyone involved. 

We will also want to determine how everyone involved will be communicating during the event – open lines of communication are crucial during an event as everyone must be aware of what is going on at any given time. This not only goes for event staff, but for the concert goers as well. Your fans and attendees must be on the same page as event staff to ensure public safety. Security Magazine details some of the best ways to communicate with the public, best of which is social media. “It is the largest spoken language in the world, with an excess of 1 billion public posts made worldwide every day.”

Step 4: The Big Day

It’s finally here, the big day. Travis Scott will be performing at MSG tonight – have we taken all of the necessary steps to ensure this concert runs smoothly? We’ve identified risks, organized mitigation strategies, proper training to the staff and open lines of communication for the public. Battle stations everyone, we’re ready for anything they can throw at us. 

Step 5: Review, Reflect, and Learn

We did it – the event was a success. Travis went out there and killed it, the fans loved it and everything ran smoothly, save for a few minor mishaps. The concert may be over, but the event planner’s job is not. The final step is to reflect on the event and planning process, and ask yourself: “what could we have done differently?” Pull the team together, go through a debriefing on both the good and bad, soak up the learnings and apply them to your next big event. All in all – well done. 

In reality, we cannot prevent 100% of emergency situations from occurring – that is simply the nature of life. But by following each and every step to a T, we can damn well try. 

The intersection of Sports & Public Safety – Sport Season

The recent launch of Stonegate’s “We Love Sports” App, sparks questions and concerns on sport’s venue safety, the impact safety has on creating an electric fan atmosphere, and how fans can stay safe while watching their favorite teams. 

The end of Summer is generally thought of as a sad period of time – we trade sunny afternoons for cool breezes, t-shirts for sweaters, and pool Saturdays for apple picking Sundays. Though cooler days are rapidly approaching, the end of Summer offers one of the most electric atmospheres in the world of sports. September through November offers the rare intersection of America’s favorite three sports, and the UK’s three favorite sports as well – Football, Baseball, Basketball, Soccer, Rugby, and Cricket. Dull moments are few and far between as playoff baseball enters its final stages, football and soccer being to pick up speed midway through the season, and a new year of basketball is introduced. As folks supporting their favorite teams look to come together at their favorite venue, bar, or pub, it becomes increasingly important to understand the public’s safety expectations in an electric and passionate atmosphere. 

The launch of the ‘We Love Sports’ app is a step forward in the world of sports fandom and fan collaboration. The app is a customer-facing live sports brand, that drives fans of similar teams to meet up at bars, pubs, or sports venues to create the ultimate sports-watching experience. Whether it’s Yankees vs. Astros game 5, Liverpool vs. Manchester United, or football sunday – the ‘We Love Sports’ app offers fans of all types unique and collaborative events in which all are welcome. But the introduction of this app sparks the question: How are these events kept safe?

In a recent study by CGA research, it was found that 72% of pubgoing sports fans state that they expect the venue to be a safe place for them to enjoy watching the action unfold. Sports and alcohol have proved to be a deadly mixture, as stated in a World Health Organization report, the overconsumption of alcohol can easily lead to violence and chaos. 

WHO also touched upon a few ways that we can prevent violence during this rowdy sports season, for example, the regulation of alcohol during an event, or raising alcohol prices to incentivise consumption. Organizations have played a part in decreasing the risk of violence with alcohol consumption present, most notably, “the Stockholm Prevents Alcohol and Drug Problems partnership implemented measures such as responsible training for bar staff, training of doors supervisors in conflict management and increased enforcement of licensing legislation, which has shown to reduce violent crimes by 29%.”

As sports season rapidly approaches, it’s important to be aware of the risks you may face when meeting with your pals to watch your favorite team, and the many ways you can prevent a violent mishap from occurring. 

Joint Effort – Working Together For Safer Environments

The ‘Ask for Angela’ venue safety campaign recently launched in Kings Cross, a major rail-hub and district in London. This launch is an important step toward safety in public settings, as instead of hired supervision or advanced technology, the ‘Ask for Angela’ campaign utilizes collaboration between venue staff and the public, in a very discreet manner. 

A little background: The ‘Ask for Angela’ campaign originated in Lincolnshire, England, yet it’s impact and popularity has spread like wildfire over the past half decade or so, “over 20 liquor accords across NSW have taken it up, with the neighbouring City of Sydney accord launching it last year.” The campaign is used by bars and venues as a codeword to let staff know that you are in danger, without explicitly saying so. You simply go up to a bar patron or staff member and ‘ask to speak to Angela’. If they are knowledgeable or have been briefed on the codeword, they will know to act calmly and notify the authorities. Angela is not a real person, but actually refers to Angela Crompton, a woman who was famously abused and killed by her husband.  

The launch of ‘Ask for Angela’ in Kings Cross is part of a larger effort commissioned by the Director of Liquor and Policing at Australian Hotels Association, John Green, to promote liquor and event safety for all event goers. Throughout Kings Cross and neighboring areas, they expect up to ‘50 venues to participate in the training’, which is a massive leap in the right direction. 


One of the biggest questions surrounding the ‘Ask for Angela’ campaign is simply: does it work? in 2018, reporters from The Tab in the UK went around to various pub hotspots around London to speak with the staff and get a first-hand read on whether the popular campaign is actually effective. The general consensus was the most of the pub staff have rarely seen a women actually ask for Angela, but they support the campaign in full and even take measures to make sure everyone is well aware of their safety options. For example, in the popular pub The Stag’s, ‘Ask For Angela’ posters are lined up in the women’s bathroom, and the staff there are trained in quelling potential situations. 


The ‘Ask for Angela’ campaign is a great step in the direction of public safety via collaboration. We can all work together, and watch out for one another,  to make sure that we always promote a safe, healthy, and fun culture.


Integrating Event Safety & Technology on a Global Scale

The future of event safety looks bright, as Halo, Crest Planning’s event safety app, has just partnered with Safe Events. Halo is a leading event safety app that now provides events with a technological and interconnected solution to further safeguard the public from unforeseen, catastrophic events. 

Event safety has come a long way in terms of technological integration. Not a decade ago, the most advanced form of event safety was the walkie-talkie, giving event staff a new level of interconnectability and communication. Flash to 2019: “Halo is the world’s leading C3i (Command, Control, Communications & intelligence) event management software and is the most advanced product of its kind”. Halo gives it’s clients the most peace of mind, as it includes functions such as time-stamped logs, and uneditable log entries to make sure everything is recorded properly. Most importantly, Halo keeps event goers safe by giving event staff “complete controland real-time, shared situational awareness to their own virtual command station.”

Halo was recently used as the primary event safety software for the ICC Cricket World Cup, which is, if American’s do not know, one of the highest attended sporting events in the world. In 2015, the World Cup sold a staggering 1.1 million tickets, which shattered the previous record of 672,000 tickets. 

The partnership between Halo and Safe Events is no small matter – Safe Events is one of the largest event safety companies in Ireland, as they have “successfully planned & run aerial shows over moving traffic, bonfires in the woods, full-size hot air balloons in Dublin city centre, air shows for 90,000+ people and a whole lot more”.

In an effort to trial the service, Safe Events deployed a test run of Halo at this years Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann, which bolstered and attendance count of over 600,000 people. This trial was clearly a success, as Safe Events director Mark Breen spoke high praise of the app: “We invested a lot of time into researching options for software like this and Halo was by far the best we found.”

This partnership will pave the way for overseas safety distribution in event safety, as this acts as Halo’s first overseas distributor. The future looks bright for the safety of event goers, not only in America, but around the globe. 

America’s Game – Fire on the Field

America’s game football, but is it totally safe? Just last week an explosion occurred at Nissan Field – one of the surprisingly few mishaps to happen at an NFL game. Spoiler alert- no one was injured, thankfully, but it begs the question:

If there is one thing every American can agree on, it is their love, their passion, and their unwavering loyalty for the sport of football. There is a reason why football is called America’s Game – the super bowl is the most watched sporting event in America almost every year dating back decades, and though it is slowing, football’s reign is far from over as, out of the current generation of NFL owners, they possess 20 of the world’s 50 most valuable sports franchises.

Just take a peek into google analytics and you will see that the data backs up the claim. Since 2004, football has steadily increased in popularity and interest, growing over 75%in just the past decade and a half. What’s notable about football, is that we rarely hear about any stadium malfunctions or safety issues during NFL Sunday, that is, until just last week. During the pregame of the Tennessee Titans vs. Indianapolis Colts, a speaker randomly exploded and was set ablaze, torching the field beneath itand causing a bit of a delay to the start of play.

A video of this mishap can be seen here– smoke billowing into the air like it’s a Sunday campfire, safety officials rushed onto the scene and handled the situation accordingly. 

Believe it or not, this is not the first time something like this has happened at a football game, most notably back in 2015 during a Rams game the same situation occurred.

Google Analytics is Interesting to dive into, as we can see that in Tennessee, the searches for NFL and fireticked up a few percentages in the days following the field mishap. Kudos to the Nissan Stadium safety staff for containing the situation, as no one was hurt and the game went on to be played without further issue. 

THE SHANGHAI STAMPEDE

A successful event not only involves extensive planning and mapping from event security, but also requires in-depth calculations and precise timing. Security teams must execute these initiatives in tandem, as just one misstep, one miscalculation, may spell disaster and death for parties involved. 


December 31st 2014, Shanghai – one of the most populated cities in the world, gearing up to celebrate one more rotation of the rock beneath our feet around the ball of fire in our solar system – that’s right, New Year’s Eve. We all know that jittery feeling, the butterflies that sprout in our stomachs as the clock slowly ticks toward midnight. Seconds become minutes, minutes become hours, as for just a brief night, the world holds its breath in anticipation and excitement for what’s to come. 


It’s 11:35 – crowds of people begin to rush toward “the iconic riverfront promenade, known as the Bund”, to watch the annual riverfront light show.  [https://www.cnn.com/2015/01/21/world/china-shanghai-stampede/index.html]. There was just one, tiny issue officials forgot to convey – the light show was just cancelled….with no official announcement. 

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Imagine this scene: Thousands of people, phone cameras at the ready, rush toward the riverfront promenade, eager to catch a glimpse of the infamous light show, while thousands of other people, armed with the knowledge of the cancelation, rush away from the riverfront, down a staircase in an attempt to leave the venue. Chaos, Panic, and Mayhem ensue. Even worse, it was reported that flyers and tickets were being thrown into the crowd, which happened to look like Chinese dollars – this only escalated the chaos. Distraught onlookers captured the chaos, which you can see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ano0Xr9_mw4


The Aftermath was just as tragic – the WSJ tweeted out that the stampede (yes, you read that right – stampede, akin to the one killed Moufasa, and in this case, far more deadly) killed 36 people, and injured some 47 others. [https://twitter.com/wsj/status/550599272706895872] [https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-30646918]. But, wait – where was the security? Was this not an annual light show that thousands upon thousands of people attend each and every year? Where was riot control? Where was crowd control? Well it just so happens that Chinese officials grossly underestimated the attendance, and decided to understaff the event due to the last-minute cancelation of the light show that no one knew about….I know, I don’t understand it either. [https://www.cnn.com/2014/12/31/world/asia/china-shanghai-new-years-stampede/]. 

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What can we learn from the Shanghai Stampede? That tragedy can happen in the blink of an eye – and we must be prepared for the worst, at all times. A year after the festivals conclusion, multiple news sources, including China Xinhua News, tweeted out that there would be no New Year’s celebration in the following years [https://twitter.com/XHNews/status/681742721350909952]. Many issues can happen when it comes to an event or concert, and we must make sure all of actions promote safety. Just recently, a Chinese millionaire was seen throwing cash off the roof of his building – an onlooker captured the scene, drawing comparisons to the Shanghai Stampede [https://twitter.com/murdochsj/status/1074781255026147328]. 


When it comes to event security, you do not understaff, you overstaff, and prepare for the worst. You give public announcement that are sure to be heard, and you make sure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to an event, let alone New Years Eve. 

Hate Crime Disaster – How We Can Hold onto Our Credibility

The Complete Timeline of Jussie Smollett’s Alleged Attack


For the past eight months, Jussie Smolett has been engulfed in the public eye, through his lengthy legal battle against the city of Chicago under the accusation of filing a false criminal report. In light of the recent hate crimes that have occurred at prominent rap concerts and music festivals (we’re talking about you Lizzo, [https://oddcrimes.com/static/2019/08/22/Columbus-woman-claims-assault-in-hate-crime-after-Lizzo-concert.php] & and you Die Antwoord [https://edm.com/news/die-antwoord-video-hate-crime]), it is refreshing to see the confirmation of hate crime claims, and to see the perpetrator rightly processed and dealt with legally. But in some cases, criminal accusations are not as they appear. How can security make sure to keep a pulse on an event, gathering, or even situation, so that in the face of a mishap or criminal issue, we are not blinded by the light and can sift through the hogwash to find out what actually occurred? If you have not heard of Jussie Smollett and his criminal situation – read below, as we examine each detail of the alleged hate crime turned boy who cried wolf.

  
The First Act – A Sob Story 


January 22nd: It always starts small…on January 22nd, it was reported that Jussie’s studio where Empire is filmed, Fox, received a nasty hate letter that contained vulgar slurs concerning race and sexuality. There also happened to be a white, powdery substance all over the letter, which hilariously, turned out to be just some simple OTC Tylonol. [https://www.goodmorningamerica.com/culture/story/empire-star-brutally-attacked-hospitalized-hate-crime-60701735] See the scholar-grade letter below: 

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January 29th – 31st: Day of the crime. Jussie is allegedly attacked at 2AM near his apartment in Chicago. It was reported that two men “attacked the actor, poured “an unknown chemical substance” on him, possibly bleach, and wrapped a rope around his neck, Smollett told police. The rope was still around Smollett’s neck when he was found, officials said.” [https://www.goodmorningamerica.com/culture/story/empire-star-brutally-attacked-hospitalized-hate-crime-60701735


Police then tweet that they have found two persons of interest, and are actively looking for any information related to the two suspects. [https://twitter.com/AJGuglielmi/status/1090787128030781441?s=20]. 


Jussie, the very next day, releases a public statement affirming his claims, saying he is working with the authorities (as a detective?) and promises he is very truthful and swears he isn’t lying (not a single person accused him of lying in the first place): “I am working with authorities and have been 100% factual and consistent on every level. [https://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Culture/empire-star-jussie-smollett-believes-justice-served-brutal/story?id=60781211]


February 4th: Things begin to seem suspicious. Chicago PD release the initial incident report, in which apparently Jussie was reluctant to report the crime, and then 60 minutes later, when the police arrived at Jussie’s apartment, he was “still wearing the rope around his neck.” [https://abcnews.go.com/US/timeline-alleged-jussie-smollett-attack/story?id=61124090]. Even more fishy, it was also reported that Smollet requested the Chicago PD officers to turn off their body cameras when taking his incident report. [http://www.cwbchicago.com/2019/01/update-tv-star-told-cops-to-turn-off.html]

Second Act – Confliction and Confusion Mid February: Things begin to heat up in this ongoing case. Apparently, Chicago PD had prior knowledge of who the alleged two suspects were, and had been following them for quite some time. On February 15th, police announced that they have identified the perps, and are currently questioning them per the assault. [https://abcnews.go.com/US/chicago-pd-locate-persons-interest-alleged-racist-attack/story?id=61075518]. February 16th: Police release names and pictures of the two suspects in the Jussie Smollet hate crime case – they are named as brothers Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo. 

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These clearly racist, KKK trump supporters then go on to tell police officials that Smollet paid them to help orchestrate and stage the crime – shocking. [https://abcnews.go.com/US/brothers-police-empire-actor-jussie-smollett-paid-orchestrate/story?id=61136630


February 21st: Smollet turns himself into Chicago Police on charges of filing a false report – again, shocking.

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Final Act – Drop (Charges) and Run
March 1st: Ola and Abel Osundairo issue an apology, saying they deeply regret being involved in this situation. [https://pagesix.com/2019/03/01/brothers-say-they-have-tremendous-regret-after-jussie-smollett-hoax/?utm_campaign=iosapp&utm_source=twitter_app]. 


March 26th: Smollet, prepared to go to court and face 16 counts of felony charges, catches the biggest break of his life. The prosecutors decide to drop all charges on Smolett, as they stated: “We believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case.” [https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2019/03/jussie-smollett-charges-dropped]. Smollet gets off scott free with no criminal charges, albit his forever tarnished name and reputation. 


Since Then: Smollet is dropped from Empire. We have scarcely heard from him since. 
After extensive analysis on my part, this is my synopsis of the claim Jussie first made: Two racist, trump supporters, walking down a Chicago street at 2AM in February, which recorded sub-zero temperatures at the time, happened to recognize a minor character from an all-black tv show. They then proceeded to put on some ski-masks, toss a pre-tied noose they just happen to have on their person, around his neck, whipped out a barrel of bleach they also happened to have, poured it on him, then screamed “this is MAGA country” as they don two MAGA hats they happen to have, in downtown Chicago, a blue city.


This is a tough pill to swallow, no? A big initial misstep on the part of Chicago PD led to months of public litigation, only to find all charges were dropped, and the story erased from our minds. As a police force, or even a security team – we must be better. We must lay all of the facts on the table, and ensure that the right person is convicted of their crime before it blows up in the public eye. The question remains: How can we make sure a debacle like this doesn’t happen again?