Police in Chicago have released photos of two possible “persons of interest” who were in the area at the time when actor and musician Jussie Smollett alleges he was brutally attacked earlier this week.
The photos, apparently captured from overhead surveillance cameras, reveal no discernible details about the persons of interest — only two figures walking side by side.
“While video does not capture an encounter, detectives are taking this development seriously and wish to question individuals as more cameras are being reviewed,” wrote Chicago Police Department’s Director of Communications Anthony Guglielmi on Twitter.
Smollett, a cast member of the TV show “Empire,” said he was in Chicago getting something to eat at around 2 a.m. Tuesday when two masked men physically attacked him, hurled racial and homophobic slurs, and shouted “MAGA Country.” He told police that they punched his face and poured an “unknown chemical substance” on him, and that one of the men put a noose around his neck.
At a press conference Wednesday, Guglielmi said that Smollett, 36, returned to his apartment after the alleged attack, and his manager called police about 40 minutes later. Police said that when they got there, Smollett had scrapes on his face and a “thin rope” hanging around his neck. He later went to Northwestern Memorial Hospital at the recommendation of law enforcement. Authorities said he's in “good condition.” He’s going ahead as planned with a scheduled solo concert in Los Angeles on Saturday.
Guglielmi also said Wednesday that detectives had canvassed and reviewed “hundreds of hours of video” in the neighborhood where Smollett says the attack occurred, noting that that particular area has a “very high density of city and private surveillance cameras,” but had found no helpful information on a suspect or a suspect’s vehicle.
But Guglielmi also stressed that the investigation was ongoing at that point, and that they were working on collecting and viewing more surveillance footage from the areas surrounding the crime scene. Police said earlier this week they were treating the case as a possible hate crime.
Because of the brutal nature of the allegations and Smollett’s public profile, the case has garnered significant attention and prompted outpourings of support from celebrities and lawmakers alike, including former Vice President Joe Biden, Democratic presidential hopeful Kamala Harris and Sen. Cory Booker.
Cover: Jussie Smollett attends SAG-AFTRA Foundation Conversations: 'Empire' at The Robin Williams Center on November 14, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Santiago Felipe/Getty Images).