Chicago Police Ask Community to Help Find ‘Persons of Interest’ in Alleged Jussie Smollett Attack

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 03: Host Jussie Smollett speaks onstage at the 16th Annual Chrysalis Butterfly Ball on June 3, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Chrysalis Butterfly Ball)
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Chrysalis Butterfly Ball

Chicago police are now asking for the city’s help in finding persons of interest related to the alleged attack earlier this week against actor Jussie Smollett.

The Chicago police department released two very blurry photos Wednesday night showing two individuals walking down a dark sidewalk.

“Chicago police say detectives want to talk to the people seen on surveillance. They are not calling them suspects. Because there is an allegation of a hate crime, a community alert will be issued,” ABC7 Chicago reporter Rob Elgas said in a social media post Wednesday.

Police only have low-quality images of two men who were in the same area as Smollett. There is no footage or image showing an actual attack taking place like the one Smollett has described to investigators.

Smollett, star of the TV show Empire, claimed that he was the victim of an assault in Chicago around 2 a.m. on Tuesday morning. Smollett says he was approached by two men who beat his face and poured a liquid substance on him before one of them wrapped a rope around his neck, a police report said. Smollett was still wearing the rope some 40 minutes after the attack when police first contacted the actor. Smollett took himself to the hospital and was later released.

TMZ initially reported that two white men in ski masks beat Smollett then “put a rope around his neck, poured bleach on him and as they left they yelled, ‘This is MAGA country.'” However, a Chicago Police Department spokesperson later said the gender and race of the alleged attackers are still unknown because, according to Smollett, they were wearing ski masks and gloves.

The attackers also allegedly yelled, “Aren’t you that faggot ‘Empire’ n*****?” at Smollett.
Additionally, Smollett’s music manager, Brandon Moore, told police that he was on the phone with Smollett during the alleged attack and heard the words “MAGA country.”

Chicago police are currently investigating the alleged attack as a possible hate crime.

Politicians and celebrities have taken to social media to express support for Smollett.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a tweet Tuesday, “The racist, homophobic attack on is an affront to our humanity. No one should be attacked for who they are or whom they love. I pray that Jussie has a speedy recovery & that justice is served. May we all commit to ending this hate once & for all.”

“What happened today to must never be tolerated in this country. We must stand up and demand that we no longer give this hate safe harbor; that homophobia and racism have no place on our streets or in our hearts. We are with you, Jussie,” Joe Biden said.

White House hopeful and California Sen. Kamala Harris also chimed in, “ is one of the kindest, most gentle human beings I know. I’m praying for his quick recovery.”

“This was an attempted modern day lynching. No one should have to fear for their life because of their sexuality or color of their skin. We must confront this hate.”

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