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‘Empire’ Actor Arrested After Hours-Long Standoff With SWAT Team

By Tom Gantert & Sandy Malone

Goodyear, AZ – Actor Bryshere Gray was arrested Monday when a SWAT team was called in after he was accused of assaulting his wife.

Gray appeared in 102 episodes of the Fox TV show Empire, according to the Internet Movie Database.

On July 12, the Goodyear Police Department received a 911 call from a woman who said she was the wife of Gray, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The woman said she had been assaulted by her husband at their home at about 10:15 p.m.

The Goodyear Police Department said the woman made the 911 call after she was given a ride by a person she flagged down at a gas station. The woman told them that she had been assaulted for several hours, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The victim had several visible injuries. She said Gray had strangled her to the point where she almost lost consciousness, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The police went to Gray’s home but the actor would not come out and talk to police. The police called in the SWAT team and crisis negotiators.

After about nine hours, Gray was arrested by police Monday morning when he surrendered and approached the police officers. He was charged with aggravated assault, assault and disorderly conduct, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The woman had non-life threatening injuries.

Gray isn’t the only Empire actor who will be facing charges.

Actor Jussie Smollett was accused of staging a fake attack on himself to raise his profile because he was unhappy with his role on Empire, according to Fox News.

Smollett was charged with six new counts of disorderly conduct in March for filing false police reports in connection with a faux hate attack he allegedly planned and executed on himself in January of 2019, WBBM reported.

The new indictment happened just one month after a Cook County judge ordered Google to turn over copious amount of information from the accounts Smollett and his manager and five months after the special prosecutor began his investigation.

The special prosecutor said in his statement about the indictment that his office “obtained sufficient factual evidence to determine that it disagrees with how the [Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office] resolved the Smollett case,” WBBM reported.

Webb said the prosecutor’s office had not been able to provide evidence that Smollett’s case had been handled similarly to other cases when the charges were dropped, which was the excuse that Foxx provided at the time.

Smollett told police on Jan. 29, 2019 that he had been attacked by two white supporters of President Donald Trump on his way home from a Subway restaurant.

He claimed the men called him homophobic and anti-black slurs and told him “This is MAGA country” as they beat him up and put a noose around his neck. He also said they threw a chemical on him.

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson explained at a press conference the day of Smollett’s arrest that that police considered the actor a victim up until Ola and Abel Osundairo returned from Nigeria to Chicago and were taken into police custody, and then the investigation “spun in a totally different direction.”

“We gave him the benefit of the doubt up until that 47th hour. But when we discovered the actual motive, quite frankly, it pissed everybody off,” he explained.

He said the brothers told police that Smollett paid them $3,500 to stage the attack, with another $500 after they returned from a planned trip to Nigeria.

“We have the check that he used to pay them,” Superintendent Johnson said.

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office announced inn March 2019 that Smollett had been indicted by a grand jury on 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct.

But just weeks later, the State’s Attorney’s Office unceremoniously announced all charges against the “Empire” actor had been dropped.

The city of Chicago has since sued Smollett for the cost of the overtime the police department incurred while investigating the hoax and the actor has counter-sued for malicious prosecution.

Cook County Judge Michael Toomin in June of 2019 appointed a special counsel to investigate what actually happened after information about Smollett hiding evidence and the involvement of Michelle Obama’s former chief of staff, Tina Tchen, in the case.

Toomin said that Foxx was right to recuse herself from Smollett’s trial after she asked Commissioner Johnson to turn over the case to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) after talking to Tchen, but that she did not have the authority to appoint her second-in-command to the prosecution in her stead, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Texts obtained by public records requests showed that Foxx herself called the Cook County Prosecutor’s Office’s excuse for withdrawing from the case “bulls–t,” the Chicago Tribune reported.

Toomin gave the special prosecutor a broad mandate to investigate what had happened with the case from beginning to end and what all parties involved had done.

Foxx has said she agreed that Webb had the basis for the new charges against Smollett but it was her office’s disposition of those charges that was in dispute.

Written by
Tom Gantert

Tom Gantert graduated from Michigan State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Tom started in the newspaper business in 1983. He has worked at the Jackson Citizen Patriot (Michigan), Lansing State Journal (Michigan), Ann Arbor News (Michigan), Vineland Daily-Journal (Michigan), North Hills News Record (Pennsylvania) and USA Today (Virginia). He is also currently the managing editor of Michigan Capitol Confidential, a daily news site of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Tom is the father of a Michigan State Police trooper.

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Written by Tom Gantert

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