On Monday, the Chicago Police Department released bizarre footage of actor Jussie Smollett that was taken in the hours following his report that he was attacked by two Trump supporters for being gay and black in the streets of Chicago. That claim was eventually dismissed by Chicago Police Chief Eddie Johnson as an “orchestrated" attack.
In the released footage, Smollett is wearing white rope around his neck; the “Empire” star claimed his attackers tied a noose around his neck and poured bleach on him. CBS News reported:
"I just wanted y'all to see," Smollett is heard saying he touches the rope in the police body camera footage taken as officers respond to his home after the Jan. 29 report. He then begins to unwind the rope and says, "There's bleach on me."
He's later heard saying he doesn't want to be filmed and the body camera is shut off.
“Chicago Police enter Jussie Smollett’s home after report of racist and homophobic attack on Jan. 29. He’s still wearing a long white rope around his neck,” CBS Chicago reporter Megan Hickey captioned a tweet containing a portion of the released video.
On January 29, Smollett told police he was targeted in downtown Chicago at around 2:30 a.m. by two white Trump supporters for being gay and black, The Daily Wire previously reported. The actor said the two men recognized him from his show “Empire,” physically assaulted him, and called him a "n*****" and a “f*****.” They also allegedly tied a noose around his neck, poured bleach on him, and told him he was in "MAGA country" — a reference to Donald Trump's 2016 campaign slogan "Make America Great Again" — Smollett claimed.
About two weeks before the attack, the actor said he received a threatening letter containing suspicious white powder later identified as crushed Tylenol. The letter had the acronym "MAGA" written on the envelope and contained a drawing of a curly-haired stick-figure being hanged with a noose by another stick-figure. It also said in cutout magazine letters: "You will die black f***.”
The media and prominent Democrats immediately believed the story.
But after new evidence emerged, Smollett’s claims did not hold up, according to Chicago Police Chief Eddie Johnson, who told reporters the hate crime was an ”orchestrated” hoax and the threatening letter was sent by Smollett to himself.
However, after some community service, Smollett was off the hook. That was, until Friday, when a Cook County, Illinois judge ruled that a special prosecutor should be appointed to investigate the alleged hate crime hoax, allowing charges to possibly be reinstated, as The Daily Wire reported:
CBS News Chicago reported that the judge made the ruling because "Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx had no authority to hand [the case] off to her top deputy after announcing she recused herself.”
TMZ noted that the judge "used a nautical metaphor to describe the screw-ups" made by Foxx's office, saying, "There was no master on the bridge to guide the ship as it floundered through unchartered waters. And it ultimately lost its bearings.”