Chicago Authorities Confirm Surveillance Footage in Racist, Homophobic Assault of 'Empire' Star Jussie Smollett
IBexclusive News Thursday January 31, 2019.
(IBEXNews) - Chicago police said late Wednesday that detectives have found footage of persons of interest in the attack of “Empire” star Jussie Smollett.
Spokesman Anthony Guglielmi released 2 photos of people of interest ‘who were in the area” of the alleged attack, blurry images that show two figures in dark clothing walking down the sidewalk next to a building.
Police said an encounter was not caught on the video.
Smollett, 35, was hospitalized Tuesday after two people hit the actor in the face, placed a rope around his neck and berated him with homophobic and racial diatribe in Chicago, police said.
The attackers also poured an undisclosed substance on the “Empire” star, who was said to be in good condition in the aftermath of the horrific ordeal.
The attack on the black actor, who came out as gay in 2015, is being investigated a possible hate crime.
There have not been any arrests in connection to the incident, nor have any suspects been identified. Police said Tuesday night that they’d reviewed hundreds of hours of video at that point and were expanding the search area.
The suspects fled the scene after ambushing Smollett, who managed to take himself to Northwestern Hospital following the incident.
Police are looking to question the pictured individuals. (Chicago Police Department)
Smollett told detectives that the attackers said “This is MAGA country” to him as they carried out the attack, referring to President Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
A letter containing threatening remarks had been sent to Smollett, who portrays a gay character on “Empire,” last week, according to multiple reports. The FBI said Tuesday that it had taken over that aspect of the investigation.
A wave of Smollett’s co-stars, fans and industry colleagues sent supportive messages to the actor following the attack.
“Empire” co-creator Lee Daniels said in an emotional Instagram video that nobody deserves to go through what Smollett did Tuesday.
“We have to love each other, regardless of what sexual orientation we are,” he said. “Because it shows that we are a united front and no racist f--k can come in and do the things that they did to you… It’s just another f--king day in America.”