“Empire” actor Jussie Smollett reportedly declined to provide police with his cellphone after he was allegedly the target of a homophobic, racist attack.
Smollett was reportedly exiting a Chicago Subway restaurant at around 2 a.m. Tuesday when one of two men in ski masks asked him, “Aren’t you that f****t ‘Empire’ n****r?” before they both attacked the openly gay, black actor. Reports indicated that the men also tied a noose around his neck and dumped a liquid, possibly bleach, on him before fleeing the scene.
Since then sources reportedly told TMZ that police “informally asked” Smollett to provide his phone so they could confirm he was talking with his manager at the time of the incident, as reports indicated. Smollett allegedly said he felt “uncomfortable” with the request and declined — though he is believed to be providing police with his phone records.
According to NBC News, Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson said Smollett has “been very cooperative” with their ongoing investigation and that they won’t require him to turn over his phone.”He’s a victim. We don’t treat him like a criminal,” Johnson told NBC News.
A police official had told TMZ that Smollett refused to turn over his phone and phone records, but other, unidentified sources told the news outlet that the actor did in fact agree to provide them with phone records, and is in the process of doing so.
Chicago police provided low-resolution images of two persons of interest that they’d like to speak with. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, police said these individuals were walking on New Street near Illinois Street between 1:30 a.m. and 1:45 a.m, around the time and about a block away from where Smollett claimed he was attacked.
While authorities haven’t recovered any footage showing Tuesday’s attack, Johnson said this isn’t uncommon despite cameras being located all over the city.
He told WLS, “I will say this: The crime that he reported is horrendous. It’s horrible. It was cowardly. We’ll do everything we can.”
[Featured image: Jussie Smollett/Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP]