Video footage released on June 24 shows Jussie Smollett wearing a white rope around his neck on Jan. 29 as Chicago police arrived at the scene of what is now understood to have been an orchestrated attack.
The Chicago Police Department recently released the almost 90 hours of footage along with hundreds of files from the Smollett investigation after the actor’s harrowing claim that he had been the victim of a racial and homophobic attack by two white men.
The video shows police officers arriving at Smollett’s apartment where he invites them inside. He declares that there are no weapons inside and begins telling his story.
“The reason I am calling is because of this s**t,” Smollett can be heard saying while another officer touches the rope looped around his neck.
Chicago police release body cam footage of Jussie Smollett pic.twitter.com/vrQptuOBbE
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) June 25, 2019
The officer interviewing him asks if Smollett would like to remove the rope.
“Yeah I do, I just wanted to you all to see it,” Smollet said. “They poured bleach on me.”
Playing the victim, Smollet then questions whether the police are recording the interview, which the officer confirms as his bodycam films the discussion.
“Yeah, this is all being audio and visually recorded,” the officer said.
Smollett then asks not to be filmed any more.
“I don’t want to be filmed, so can you please turn it off?” he said.
According to TMZ, the footage verifies that Smollett was still wearing the noose around his neck for at least 40 minutes after he was allegedly attacked.
The actor claimed that two white men beat him up at about 2 a.m. local time on East North Water Street, before pouring bleach onto him and making remarks that Smollett considered to be racist and homophobic.
There is also extensive surveillance camera footage that police collected, including what appears to be the route taken to and from the scene of the staged attack by the key suspects Abimbola “Abel” Osundairo and Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo—two black Nigerian-American brothers who had been paid to stage the attack.
One of the videos appeared to shows the Osundairo brothers running through the streets at 2:04 a.m. just minutes after the so-called attack, TMZ reported.
In a police report obtained under the freedom of information act by CWBChicago, investigators said that a suspect, name redacted, had confirmed to the authorities that a El Yucateco hot sauce bottle that had been photographed and recovered near 406 North New Street in Chicago on Feb. 7 was the one used in the staged attack on Smollett.
“[Redacted name] stated that indeed was the bottle he filled with bleach and poured on Smollett and appeared to be the same picture he viewed the previous day,” the police report said.
— Jeryl Bier (@JerylBier) March 27, 2019
Smollett alleged that the attackers then looped the rope around his neck, which he is believed to have continued to wear while he escaped to the safety of his apartment and waited for police to arrive.
Smollett was later indicted by a Chicago grand jury 16 felony counts on 16 counts for allegedly lying to police about the events of Jan. 29, according to reports on March. 8. He had also been charged with disorderly conduct in February.
Both files show a request to “reclassify” the Jussie Smollett incident from “aggravated battery” to a peace violation (false report), based on indications as early as January 31(?). Also note, FBI was involved and requested results of a CPD search executed on Smollett’s iCloud. https://t.co/DZvL4qK7Ea
— Emily Zanotti (@emzanotti) March 27, 2019
However, the office of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx dropped the charges on March 26. The decision was heavily criticized by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, and the Illinois Prosecutors Bar Association.
Cook County Judge Michael Toomin suggested that the case had been mismanaged by Foxx, who later recused herself due to a potential conflict of interest or lack of impartiality, appointing a top aide to replace her.
In releasing the evidence, Chicago Police said it supports the conduct of who investigated the incident.
“We stand firmly behind the work of detectives in investigating the fabricated incident reported by Jussie Smollett and Chicago Police will fully cooperate with the court appointed special prosecutor,” police Chief Communications Officer Anthony Guglielmi said on Twitter.
We stand firmly behind the work of detectives in investigating the fabricated incident reported by Jussie Smollett & #ChicagoPolice will fully cooperate with the court appointed special prosecutor. pic.twitter.com/bCDF0NYfzP
— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) June 21, 2019
The Associated Press contributed to this report.