Chicago, IL – Chicago police have released more than 70 hours of video collected during their investigation of the hate crime they believe former “Empire” star Jussie Smollett staged on himself (video below).
Some of the most fascinating video clips are those that show the moments after police arrived at the actor’s apartment after the attack, and footage of the Osundairo brothers getting into a taxi en route to the pre-arranged attack site while wearing light-colored paper HAZMAT jumpsuits.
Chicago police have said they believe Smollett lied when he told police he was jumped by two masked men as he was walking home from a Subway restaurant in his Streeterville neighborhood in the early hours of Jan. 29.
He said the men beat him, and hurled racist and homophobic slurs at him.
Smollett told police that the men threw an unknown substance on him and put a noose around his neck before they ran off.
His manager told police that he was on the phone with his client at the time of the attack and heard Smollett’s attackers say “This is MAGA country” while they were assaulting the actor, NBC News reported.
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 on March 8 that Smollett had been indicted by a grand jury on 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct.
But then on March 26, the State’s Attorney’s Office unceremoniously announced all charges against the “Empire” actor had been dropped.
On Friday, Cook County Judge Michael Toomin scolded Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and ruled that a special prosecutor was needed to investigate the entire handling of Smollett’s case.
Toomin’s ruling harbors bad news for the former “Empire” actor because a special prosecutor could decide to bring the same, different, or more charges against him, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The copious hours of video footage were released just two days later and show parts of the investigation that the public was not previously privy to after the investigation records were initially sealed.
Bodycam video showed police arriving at Smollett’s apartment and being led inside by his manager.
“He’s like the star who works for the show ‘Empire,’” the manager told the officers.
When they arrive at the apartment, Smollett is standing next to a kitchen island with the makeshift noose still hanging around his neck, the video showed.
“He doesn’t want this to be a big deal, you understand what I’m saying,” Smollett’s manager told officers. “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.”
Police asked Smollett if he wanted to remove the noose.
“Yeah. I do. I just wanted you all to see it,” the actor told the officers and began removing the rope, which appeared to be looped around his neck several times in a complicated fashion.
“There’s bleach on me, they poured bleach on me,” Smollett told the officers.
The officers informed him that their exchange was being recorded by his bodycam.
That’s when the actor and his manager asked police to stop filming.
“You’re filming this right?” the manager asked
“Yes, this is all data,” an officer explained “It’s his house.”
“They are filming,” the manager tells his client. “Can we turn it off?”
“Yeah,” the officer replies. “You are giving us permission to shut it off?”
Smollett later refused to provide his medical records from the night of the attack, a DNA sample for comparison to other DNA on the rope, or his cell phone to police.
Police also released bodycam of the Osundairo brothers being arrested at Chicago O’Hare International Airport when they returned from Nigeria and surveillance video from inside the taxi the brothers took to the spot where they plotted the fake hate crime with Smollett.
That video showed the Osundairo brothers wearing white paper HAZMAT jumpsuits when they climbed into the back of the taxi.
One of the brothers pulled the drawstring on the hood tighter as if to conceal more of his face, the video showed.
Police released 1,200 files in total on June 25, including documents, arrest reports, and detectives’ handwritten notes, in addition to the 70 hours of video footage.
You can see the videos below: