Police in Chicago, Illinois say they were able to find two persons of interest in the alleged attack on Empire actor Jussie Smollet. They insist, however, that these people aren’t suspects at this time.
Important for media reporting: The people of interest are alleged to be in the area where a crime was reported. They are not considered suspects at this time as they are currently being questioned by detectives. We remain in communication with the alleged victim. pic.twitter.com/JuH1kYRTYV
— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) February 14, 2019
Cops previously said that surveillance footage showed two persons of interest in the area of the attack.
Photos of people of interest who were in area of the alleged assault & battery of Empire cast member. While video does not capture an encounter, detectives are taking this development seriously & wish to question individuals as more cameras are being reviewed pic.twitter.com/xJDDygtocr
— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) January 31, 2019
Police said Smollett was attacked January 29.
In a new interview with Good Morning America, Smollett said he had just flown into Chicago, and went out for a meal because there wasn’t any food at home. He was talking on the phone with his manager when he was crossing an intersection, when someone on the street yelled, “Empire” at him. He said he didn’t respond at first–“I don’t answer to Empire”–but finally did when the person yelled slurs (Smollett is black and gay).
He said a masked attacker yelled, “This MAGA country, [censored]” and punched him, and then Smollett punched back. They fought, but a second person began kicking Smollett in the back. The actor said the attack stopped and his assailants ran away, but he found that they put a rope on around his neck and splashed on him what he believed to be bleach. The actor suggested the attack was motivated by his criticism of President Donald Trump.
Some pundits, usually conservatives, met the story with skepticism, and construed it as outlandish. The actor also reportedly refused to give cops his phone. In the GMA interview, Smollett told host Robin Roberts that his phone contained private information. He said he was “pissed off” by the negative reaction to his claim, and suggested that his doubters would’ve been more likely to support him had he claimed a Muslim, Mexican, or black person attacked him.
[Screengrab via ABC News]