Chicago Police Release ‘People of Interest’ Pictures in ‘Empire’ Actor’s Alleged Attack

January 31, 2019 Updated: January 31, 2019

The Chicago Police Department has released two pictures showing “people of interest” who police want to speak to regarding an alleged attack on “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett.

Smollett claimed that he was assaulted by two men at 2 a.m. on Jan. 29 in Chicago.

“Photos of people of interest who were in [the] area of the alleged assault and battery of ‘Empire’ cast member,” said Anthony Guglielmi, Chicago Police Department spokesman, in a caption accompanying the pictures while sharing them on Twitter.

“While video [footage] does not capture an encounter, detectives are taking this development seriously and wish to question individuals as more cameras are being reviewed,” he added.

In a community alert, police said that two male subjects were reported by Smollett to have struck him and knocked him to the ground before placing a rope around his neck and pouring an unknown substance on him.

“Detectives are seeking to identify and interview the two subjects depicted in the pictures, walking on New Street near Illinois, between 1:30 a.m. to 1:45 a.m., in order to determine whether they may have any involvement in the reported incident or if they may have witnessed the incident.”

Smollett initially told police officers that he was assaulted by two men wearing ski masks concealing their faces who shouted slurs at him before beating him and pouring an unknown chemical substance on him.

“At one point during the incident, one of the offenders wrapped a rope around the victim’s neck,” police said in a statement sent to Reason.

In a later interview, Smollett claimed that his attackers shouted “this is MAGA country,” referring to the phrase “Make America Great Again.”

“In the initial reports there was no mention of MAGA” but “when detectives follow[ed] up with him later in the day, he recalled the offender making those comments and detectives completed a supplemental report,” police stated.

Smollet’s music manager Brandon Moore told police officers that he was on the phone with Smollett during the alleged attack and that he overheard some of the incident including one of the assailants saying “MAGA country” in addition to the racial slur, ABC 7 reporter Rob Elgas reported.

However, detectives aren’t able to verify the call because both Smollett and Moore refused to let officers check their phones.

Police told Elgas that detectives used time codes from two different cameras to piece together the movements of Smollett and the two “people of interest.”

“On one camera the ‘persons of interest’ are seated at a bench. ACROSS the same street, Smollett is seen walking. Smollett is recorded on that different camera walking. The ‘persons of interest’ are also seen walking but on the other side of the same street,” Elgas said.

“The next time Smollett is seen on surveillance camera, he is entering a condo building. Police say he now has a rope around his neck and is ‘wearing it like a neck tie.’ About a minute (maybe less) has passed since he was seen on video. Smollett, according to investigators, walks in to the building, walks by building security and gets on an elevator. This video is better quality according to detectives. And what appears to be road salt is on his sweatshirt.”

Smollett then went to the home of an acquaintance, where police arrived to take his report.

While taking his statement, Smollett requested the responding officers to turn off their body cameras, which police said isn’t uncommon when officers enter a private residence.

Smollett later transported himself to Northwestern Hospital and was treated.

From NTD News

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