CHICAGO (CBS) — Empire actor Jussie Smollett is speaking out after he says he was attacked in a hate crime in Chicago early Tuesday morning.
Smollett says he is ‘ok’ following the incident and addresses questions on social media that the account given to the Chicago Police Department was factual.
Let me start by saying that I’m ok. My body is strong but my soul is stronger. More importantly I want to say thank you. The outpouring of love and support from my village has meant more than I will ever be able to truly put into words. I am working with authorities and have been 100% factual and consistent on every level. Despite my frustrations and deep concern with certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations that have been spread, I still believe that justice will be served. As my family stated, these types of cowardly attacks are happening to my sisters, brothers and non-gender conforming siblings daily. I am not and should not be looked upon as an isolated incident. We will talk soon and I will address all details of this horrific incident but I need a moment to process. Most importantly, during times of trauma, grief and pain, there is still a responsibility to lead with love. It’s all I know. And that can’t be kicked out of me.
With Love, respect & honor…
Smollett’s family has also spoken out regarding the incident, saying, “Jussie has told police everything from the very beginning. His story has never changed, and we are hopeful they will find these men and bring them to justice.”
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson says there is no indication Smollett is not telling the truth and he is hopeful for an arrest.
“The crime as reported to us is horrendous,” Johnson said. “It’s a cowardly act, and there’s just no place for that in, not just this city, but in this country.”
Police say the star, 36, was walking home from a 24-hour Subway restaurant in Streeterville around 2 a.m. Tuesday when he was allegedly attacked by two men who began yelling homophobic and racial slurs at the actor on North Lower Water Street near Smollett’s apartment.
According to Chicago police, the actor was on the phone with his manager during the alleged incident when one of the attackers allegedly reference the president’s campaign slogan saying, “This is MAGA country.” But both Smollett and his manager refuse to turn their phones over to police.
Police say Smollett also reported that the men threw an unknown substance on him and placed a rope around his neck.
Sources say Smollett left the rope on his neck roughly 45 minutes until police arrived.
Chicago police say they have located video that shows “potential persons of interest” wanted for questioning. The video does not depict an assault, police say, but the people are “seen in the vicinity of the alleged criminal incident during the alleged time of occurrence.”
But the alleged attack is not captured on the hundreds of surveillance videos the 12 detectives assigned to the case have poured through.
Police are continuing to investigate the incident.
CPD confirms they have the rope from the incident and are testing Smollett’s sweater for the unknown substance Smollett thrown on him.
But police say Smollett has been cooperative and has taken police on a walk through of the area in question.
A letter containing white powder was also sent to the Empire set at Cinespace Studios. It was received on Jan. 22, and a hazmat crew says when they arrived that day the powder turned out to be only aspirin.
Thursday President Donald Trump said he has seen the reports about the racially motivated attack.
“That I can tell you is horrible,” Trump said. “I’ve seen it, last night. I think that’s horrible. It doesn’t get worse as far as I’m concerned.”