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CHICAGO (AP) — Detectives have recovered more surveillance footage of “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett walking in downtown Chicago before and after he says he was attacked by two masked men, including video of him arriving home with a rope around his neck, but they’re still searching for footage of the attack, a police spokesman said Thursday.

The video from a surveillance camera at Smollett’s apartment building showing him arrive home with a rope around his neck is part of a larger effort to obtain as much footage as possible of his walk from a Subway restaurant to his apartment at around 2 a.m. Tuesday.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said detectives, who are investigating the case as a possible hate crime, have pieced together more footage from the hundreds of public and private surveillance cameras in that area of downtown Chicago, which is home to many high-end hotels and restaurants. But they still haven’t found video of the attack or the men who match Smollett’s description of the suspects, he said.

Smollett, who is black and gay and plays the gay character Jamal Lyon on the hit Fox television show, said the men beat him, subjected him to racist and homophobic insults, threw an “unknown chemical substance” on him and put a thin rope around his neck before fleeing. He returned to his apartment afterward and his manager called police from there about 40 minutes later, Guglielmi said. When officers arrived, the actor had cuts and scrapes on his face and the rope around his neck. Smollett later went to a hospital for treatment.

 

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I wish what happened to my baby was just one big bad joke but it wasn’t and we all feel his pain right now. @jussiesmollett is pure love to the bone AND THAT IS WHY SO MANY ARE FEELING HIS PAIN BECAUSE IT IS OUR PAIN!!! I tell you one thing HATE WILL NOT WIN!!!! My baby is resilient and love still lives in him. The devil and his minions are very busy right now but one thing is for sure and two things are for certain #GODIS and that is all I know. This song needs to be downloaded until it goes triple platinum because the message is NEEDED. #weareresilientpeople AND #weaintgoingnowhereuntillwearefinished. The love so many have for him just goes to show HE IS LOVE!!!! I LOVE YOU MY BABY MY BABY!!! #LOVEWINSALWAYS. 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾💋💋💋

A post shared by taraji p henson (@tarajiphenson) on

Guglielmi said there are still many more videos for investigators to collect and go through as they try to get a complete picture of Smollett’s walk home. It is tedious work that is made more difficult because the time stamps on various cameras may not be in sync, meaning detectives have to figure out the exact times of events, he said.

“It’s like putting together a puzzle,” he said.

Guglielmi said Smollett and his manager told detectives they were talking on the phone at the time of the attack, but that the 36-year-old actor declined to turn over his phone records to the detectives, who routinely ask for such information during criminal investigations.

Smollett has not spoken publicly about the attack, but his representative told The Associated Press on Wednesday night that the actor was at home and recovering. Smollett’s family issued a statement through a spokesman Thursday saying the actor was the victim of a “racial and homophobic hate crime” and pushing back against any suggestion that he was anything but truthful with the police.

“Jussie has told the police everything from the very beginning. His story has never changed, and we are hopeful they will find these men and bring them to justice,” the family said.

Police are hoping to identify and talk to two people who were walking in the area at the time of the attack and whose grainy image the department released. Guglielmi stressed that the people are not considered suspects and that police want to question them because they were in the vicinity and might have useful information.

Reports of the attack drew a flood of outrage and support for Smollett on social media. Some of the outrage stemmed from Smollett’s account to detectives that his attackers yelled that he was in “MAGA country,” an apparent reference to the Trump campaign’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.

President Donald Trump, expressed sympathy for Smollett on Thursday.

 

“That I can tell you is horrible. It doesn’t get worse,” the president told reporters when asked about the matter. The spot where Smollett says he was attacked isn’t far from the Trump International Hotel & Tower.

The FBI is investigating a threatening letter targeting Smollett that was sent last week to the Fox studio in Chicago where “Empire” is filmed, Guglielmi said. The FBI has declined to comment on the investigation.

In addition to his acting career, Smollett has a music career and is a noted activist, particularly on LBGTQ issues. Smollett’s representative said his concert scheduled for Saturday in Los Angeles will go on as planned.

Now in its fifth season, the hourlong drama “Empire” follows an African-American family as they navigate the ups and downs of the record industry. Smollett’s character is the middle son of Empire Entertainment founder Lucious Lyon and Cookie Lyon, played by Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, respectively.

Chicago has one of the nation’s most sophisticated and extensive video surveillance systems, including thousands of cameras on street poles, skyscrapers, buses and in train tunnels.

Police say the cameras have helped them make thousands of arrests. In one of the best-known examples of the department’s use of the cameras, investigators in 2009 were able to recreate a school board president’s 20-minute drive through the city, singling out his car on a succession of surveillance cameras to help them determine that he committed suicide and had not been followed and killed by someone else, as his friends speculated.

 

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12 thoughts on “Jussie Smollet Update: Trump Response, Actor Arrived Home With Rope, Won’t Turn Over Phone

  1. Dear black people, you know this didnt happen right? He lied about it which actually makes white people the real victims. Hows that for irony?

  2. Maybe he wont turn over that phone because it contains photos of that blond haired blue eyed white black man who shot that little girl in Huston

  3. As I said from the beginning, I’ll reserve my judgment until I see a video. To me, this story sounded fishy from the beginning. It will be interested to see how it turns out especially since everybody jumped on the bandwagon again not knowing the facts.

  4. I wonder why he won’t turn over his phone, something just not right, maybe cause he don’t want investigators see all those under cover fag numbers whom he call often. Y’all ladies out there thinking y’all got a straight man better think otherwise.

  5. ROB the LONELY WHITE BOY you need to join forces with your other ABORTED friends you are sounding more and more like them everyday.(STUPID AND VILE)As for bro Smollet things sound kind of FISHY but like said I give him the benefit of the DOUBT if he is LYING his GAME will be OVER and an EXIT from power will be FOR SURE don”t even talk abt LIFE!!!!! THE CONCLUSION IS TO COME??????????? POWER TO THE PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!

    • I’m about as stupid and vile as this guy making things up and blaming white people for nothing or as vile as those black extremists in DC who were yelling the most vile racist and homophobic slurs imaginable at everyone including the native Americans but nobody will talk about them. I wish we didn’t have to sit here and argue blaming each other’s race but here we are doing just that. It’s just so much easier to get along with everyone. But I see no end with black people making up stories about racism just to stir trouble.

  6. Ted Gravely on said:

    I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt. If it ends here; no perpetrators found, kind of inconclusive, I’m okay and will still give him the benefit. Why would he lie? Now, I don’t blame him. I’m not turning over my phone. WTF! Why don’t they ask him for a copy of his phone records from midnight to 4am. Please….ain’t no way I’m putting my phone into the hands of blue racists. This is interesting.

    • Blacks are constantly making up these stories to attack white people and according to you I’m the bigot but not these blacks crying wolf? Are the 4 black extremists from DC who yelled the most vile and hateful racial and homophobic slurs at everyone else bigots also or just me? It’s a shame that you aren’t intelligent enough to see that the black race seems to be more racist and hateful than all the other races combined! You dont seem to care or mind that everyone else will have a negative view on your entire race with your antics. Do you not care? You dont mind being viewed as a problem and burden on everyone else? All the other races seem for the most part to get along and work with each other but for some reason blacks just have to be militant and miserable

  7. Blacks crying wolf again is all this is and the only thing they accomplish when doing this is only making more and more people despise them. If you dont like black people anymore it really shouldn’t be held against you. They are really nothing but a nuisance, a problem, and a burden to everyone else. I even just get a sick feeling in my stomach just from looking at one. They bring it all on themselves and they deserve all the negativity and stereotypes surrounding them. And it’s their fault that I feel this way about human beings but like I said, they bring it on themselves. I love all the races of people, it’s just them, they just seem to always live being militant and miserable people. Hopefully someday they can wake up and get with the program!

  8. I hope he didn’t make up this story because if he did he’s going to be facing charges and his career will be over. There’s something about his story that just don’t sound right.

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