Chicago Police, as promised, released body cam footage on Monday of their response at Empire actor Jussie Smollett‘s apartment the night in January he claimed that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic assault.
Smollett’s face is blurred in the video, ABC 7 reported, because he was considered a victim at the time; nonetheless, Smollett can be identified because he has rope around his neck that he said was a noose. It’s also notable that Smollett and his manager Frank Gatson asked police to turn off their body cameras. Per ABC 7:
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?”
Police acknowledged in the video that Smollett and Gatson had given them permission to do so.
All told there is nearly 70 hours of police footage.
After a thorough investigation, Smollett was hit with 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false report. Despite that, Cook County prosecutors shockingly decided to drop those charges, angering Chicago Police. Smollett merely forfeited his bond and was required to do community service.
Smollett claimed that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack perpetrated by two suspects using slurs and declaring “this is MAGA country.” He said he was doused with a bleach-like substance and that his attackers put a noose around his neck. The Chicago Police Department tracked down persons of interest later revealed to be the Osundairo brothers. Abel and Ola told police that the attack was staged.
This special prosecutor would be allowed to “further prosecute Smollett” if warranted, Judge Toomin said.
“There was no master on the bridge to guide the ship as it floundered through uncharted waters, and it ultimately lost its bearings,” Judge Toomin continued. “The unprecedented irregularities identified in this case warrants the appointment of independent counsel to restore the public’s confidence in the integrity of our criminal justice system.”
The “irregularities” you can expect the special prosecutor to ask about: Why did Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx say she was recused from handling the Smollett case, but remain involved? What were your motives when you “recused” yourself from the Smollett case but “still communicated with your staff” about it? What were your motives when you communicated with one of Smollett’s family members? What were your motives when your office dropped the 16 felony charges against Smollett?
Foxx previously acknowledged in a text message that she was “recused.” Still, she decided to offer an opinion about “overcharging.”
“Sooo……I’m recused, but when people accuse us of overcharging cases…16 counts on a class 4 becomes exhibit A,” she said. Foxx’s office would say the use if the term recuse “was a colloquial use of the term rather than in its legal sense.”
Foxx claimed in a statement that the dropping of charges was the “appropriate resolution to this case.”
“After reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the case, including Mr. Smollett’s volunteer service in the community and agreement to forfeit his bond to the City of Chicago, we believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case,” she said in March, adding, “This case was treated like the other cases that have gone through our alternative prosecution model.”
First assistant state attorney Joseph Magats, the Foxx deputy who handled the case when Foxx purportedly “recused” herself, previously told WLS that the dropped charges weren’t an exoneration of Smollett, saying, “We believe he did what he was charged with doing.”
[Image via Chicago PD]
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