A police bodycam video showing actor Jussie Smollett with a noose around his neck on the night he was allegedly attacked has been released.
The former Empire actor, who is openly gay, alleged he was punched in the face, had an “unknown chemical substance” poured on him and a rope wrapped around his neck in a racist and homophobic attack in January.
On Monday, police released footage from the date of the alleged incident, showing Smollett, with the rope still around his neck, more than 40 minutes after his alleged attack, reporting the incident to two police officers who arrived at his apartment building in Chicago that morning.
On the video, officers are seen being greeted by director and choreographer Frank Gatson who tells them, “He is like a star, works on the show Empire. So I think he doesn’t want it to be a big deal.”
Gatson adds that he’s emotional because the attackers put a noose around his neck. The officers ask Smollett if he wants to “take it off or anything?”
And he replies: “Yeah I do, I just wanted you to see it”, and adds: “There’s bleach on me. They poured bleach on me.”
Shortly after, he asks the police to switch off their cameras.
The body camera video is part of over 70 hours of video Chicago police released to the media.
Another video appears to show Abel and Ola Osundairo – the brothers who are accused of helping to stage the alleged attack – in a cab on the night the police were called. Police allege the two brothers were paid by Smollett to pose as the attackers, a charge which they admitted to after they were arrested two weeks later.
Smollett was indicted on 16 counts after it was alleged by city police officials that he had staged the hate attack on himself for publicity, and he was later charged by police with disorderly conduct and filing a false police report. However, he walked free from custody in March after all charges against him were dropped.
Both Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the city’s police chief declared they were sure the actor was guilty.
He has since been sued by city officials for wasting police time and lost his role on Empire, with the show’s creator, Lee Daniels, recently confirming the actor would not be part of the show’s sixth and final season.