Police released nearly 70 hours of video, all connected to the Smollett case.
Police bodycam video shows officers arriving at Smollett’s apartment in Streetervile. After going with his manager up to his apartment, they are greeted by the star with a rope coiled several times around his neck, claiming that two attackers wearing Make America Great Again hats doused him with bleach and put the noose over his head.
Police blurred Smollett’s face in the video that the I-Team obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request because at the time he was considered a victim.
“He doesn’t want this to be a big deal, you understand what I’m saying,” Smollett’s manager tells officers on the video. “The thing that makes me emotional is they put this makeshift loop, what do you call that thing, a noose around his (expletive) neck. I’m sorry, you know. And that is what bothers me, the cut thing doesn’t bother me at all. If that makes any sense.”
Inside the apartment, the video shows Smollett with the rope strung around his neck, which he tells police was put there by his attackers.
Police ask him if he wants to remove the supposed noose, which he does, and then when informed that a police body camera is recording the whole thing, the actor asks that the camera be turned off.
“You’re filming this right?” Smollett’s manager asks.
“Yes, this is all data,” an officer responds. “It’s his house.”
“They are filming,” Smollett’s manager tells the actor. “Can we turn it off?”
“Yeah,” the officer replies. “You are giving us permission to shut it off?”
Smollett claimed he was the victim of a vicious hate crime in Streeterville in the late hours of January 29. He said two men physically attacked him while yelling racist and homophobic slurs, threw a chemical liquid on him and looped a rope around his neck.
But the investigation turned on the actor as it continued. Chicago police said he orchestrated the attack with the help of the Osundairo brothers, who he knew. One brother was an extra on “Empire” and the other was Smollett’s personal trainer.
Police said Ola and Abel OSundairo took a cab to the pre-arranged attack site. In video from the car, the brothers are disguised in hazmat suits that one tightens around his face. They climb out of the taxi and surveillance video shows them walking down the street to carry out the allegedly staged attack.
Two days after the alleged attack, Chicago police released surveillance images of two people they said they considered persons of interest in the attack, which was taken from that video.
Police said Smollett staged the attack at a corner where he believed a surveillance camera would capture the attack, and that the facial injuries he sustained were likely self-inflicted.
Police also released bodycam video of the Osundairo brothers being detained by police at O’Hare International Airport after returning from Nigeria.
But the key scene from the police video is Smollett sporting the rope during his first encounter with officers, while his manager tells police the actor doesn’t want this to become a big deal.
Police initially charged Smollett with one count of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report. A grand jury then returned an indictment for 16 counts of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report.
All charges against Smollett were dropped in late February in exchange for community service and forfeiture of his $10,000 bond payment. That decision is already under a separate review by the county’s inspector general.
A special prosecutor will soon be appointed to look into why Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx dropped the case and whether Smollett should be re-charged.
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