Key moments in actor Jussie Smollett’s Chicago attack
CHICAGO (AP) — “Empire” actor and R&B singer Jussie Smollett told Chicago police last month that two men physically attacked him and yelled racial and homophobic slurs.
Some key moments in the story:
—Jussie Smollett tells Chicago police he was physically attacked by two men in downtown Chicago while out getting food from a Subway restaurant at 2 a.m. The black and openly gay actor tells authorities the men used racial and homophobic slurs, wrapped a rope around his neck and poured an “unknown substance” on him. Police say Smollett told detectives that the attackers yelled he was in “MAGA country,” an apparent reference to President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan that some critics of Trump have decried as racist and discriminatory.
—Chicago police say they’ve reviewed hundreds of hours of surveillance camera footage, including of Smollett walking downtown, but none of the videos show the attack. Police obtain and release images of two people they would like to question.
—Reports of Smollett’s attack draw outrage and support on social media, including from U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California, U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush of Chicago and TV talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.
—Trump tells reporters at the White House that he saw a story the night before about Smollett and that, “It doesn’t get worse, as far as I’m concerned.”
—Smollett’s family issues a statement calling the attack a racial and homophobic hate crime. Smollett’s family says he “has told the police everything” and “his story has never changed,” disputing assertions leveled on social media that he has been less than cooperative and changed his story.
—Smollett issues a statement telling people that he is OK and thanking them for their support. He says he is working with authorities and has been “100 percent factual and consistent on every level.”
—Smollett gives a concert in West Hollywood, California , opening with an emotional speech, saying he had to play the show because he couldn’t let his attackers win.
Chicago police pick up two Nigerian brothers at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport on their return from Nigeria after police learn at least one worked on “Empire,” They questioned them about the case. Police also searched the apartment where the men live.
—Chicago police later say local media reports that the attack against Smollett was a hoax are unconfirmed .
—Producers of “Empire” dispute media reports that Smollett’s character was being written off the show.
—Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielimi says the two “persons of interest” are now considered suspects . He says the men are in custody but have not been charged with a crime.
—Chicago police released two men without charges after arresting them on suspicion of assaulting Smollett and holding them for nearly 48 hours. A police spokesman said the two are no longer considered suspects and that investigators have new evidence to consider as a result of questioning them.