Update (February 3, 2019): The investigation into the homophobic, racist attack on Empire actor Jussie Smollett continues, and the Chicago Police Department (CPD) has announced it has obtained new evidence that may help unmask the actor’s assailants.
According to HuffPost, a police spokesperson announced officials now have previously unseen footage from the area of the attack. The CPD has yet to discover whether the two persons of interest in the case appear on the new tape; the spokesperson said the footage is still being “downloaded and reviewed.”
ABC News used a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain the police report Smollett filed shortly after the attack and revealed new details about the incident Monday.
According to the report, Smollett said he didn’t want to report the attack but was convinced by a 60-year-old neighbor to call the police.
It isn't clear whether this is the same neighbor who said they saw a "redneck" with a noose near the actor's home. It is known, however, that it was this neighbor who ultimately made the 911 call on Smollett’s behalf after convincing the actor telling the authorities about the assault was “in [his] best interest."
The report also notes police saw the noose Smollett said was put around his neck; it was apparently where the attackers put it when officers arrived on the scene. The officers filing the report described it as a “white rope draped around” Smollett’s neck.
A police spokesperson said the rope is a key piece of evidence.
"We are starting to search stores to see if any of this kind of rope was purchased in the area," the spokesperson said.
Smollett received a written threat while on the Empire set. While it isn’t clear whether those behind the beating sent the note, the police report notes Smollett told police his attackers seemed to recognize him from the show.
Unfortunately, the actor wasn’t able to get a good look at the men who beat him. Smollett was able to approximate the height and weight of at least one of the aggressors for the officers but said the man doing the majority of the attacking was masked.
The police department said it remains on the lookout for footage of the actual attack and that it is continuing to work to identify the two primary suspects. Smollett, as Blavity reported, returned to the stage last weekend, thanking his supporters and promising to stand tall in the face of bigotry.
Original: Following the devastating attack on Empire star Jussie Smollett, police identified two persons of interest in the racist and homophobic attack, and a neighbor of the actor saw something suspicious before the assault took place.
On Tuesday, Smollett was violently attacked by MAGA supporters that left him hospitalized. As Blavity previously reported, the assailants punched him in the face, poured bleach on his body and wrapped a noose around his neck. TMZ reports a neighbor of Smollett's said she saw a "redneck" hanging around outside of the building with a rope before the alleged assault. The rope was still around Smollett’s neck when officials discovered the 35-year-old. The actor is reportedly in good physical condition. Over a week ago, a letter addressed to him was reportedly sent to Fox Studios with the note, "You will die Black f*g."
Chicago police have since announced they have located surveillance video showing possible persons of interest. Chicago Police Department Chief Communications Officer Anthony Guglielmi released a picture of two people walking in the area where Smollett was attacked.
Photos of people of interest who were in area of the alleged assault & battery of Empire cast member. While video does not capture an encounter, detectives are taking this development seriously & wish to question individuals as more cameras are being reviewed pic.twitter.com/xJDDygtocr— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) January 31, 2019
“As of 10 p.m. Tuesday, detectives canvassed and reviewed hundreds of hours of video and have now expanded the search area along the Chicago riverfront, hoping to find a video to be able to release a public description of the offenders," a Chicago Police Department spokesperson said.
“We are taking this investigation very seriously and detective teams will broaden our search area and work around the clock to look for videos on traffic cameras, CTA buses, and neighboring thoroughfares which could have captured the offender's movements," they added.
Law enforcement officials, unfortunately, have not found any other information on the suspects or their vehicles.
In addition to his acting, Smollett has a reputation for activism and philanthropy. In December, he and his brother Jake Smollett joined the fight to save the women's HBCU Bennett College by encouraging fundraising efforts.
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