You wrote the keyword that sums up the entire scenario — and that’s privilege. Smollett used and abused his privilege. The police gave his privilege precedence, and so do the general public. There are many Black trans men and women, and men who identify as cis but who engages in all sorts of complex,non-traditional views on sex who are beaten, raped, and killed and no one gives them a second thought because they don’t have privilege.
Privilege preferences definitely erodes trust. Sadly, we put celebrities above ourselves, and therefore — our systems also prioritize them over us. That shouldn’t be so.