"Let me start by saying that I’m OK,” Smollett said in a statement provided exclusively to Essence. “My body is strong but my soul is stronger. More importantly I want to say thank you. The outpouring of love and support from my village has meant more than I will ever be able to truly put into words. ”
Thursday, Chicago police told NBC News that Smollett had refused to turn over his phone, which reportedly holds evidence of the encounter, to police. But now, since Smollett's statement was released, police will no longer demand the actor to turn in his cell phone. Eddie T. Johnson, the department's superintendent told NBC that Smollett had been "cooperative" and should be treated like a victim, not a criminal.
Smollett seemingly addressed this same issue in his statement: "I am working with authorities and have been 100% factual and consistent on every level. Despite my frustrations and deep concern with certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations that have been spread, I still believe that justice will be served."
Smollett's family also previously released a statement on the actor's behalf. The family wrote, "We want to be clear, this was a racial and homophobic hate crime. 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."