Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson reportedly told local media Tuesday that the Chicago Police Department will pursue a case against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett if it turns out Smollett filed a false police report alleging a late night attack.
Smollett was allegedly attacked while walking home from a Subway sandwich shop in downtown Chicago. Smollett says that two men approached him, targeted him with both racial and homophobic slurs, tossed a rope around his neck, and then poured an unspecified liquid on him, which may have been bleach. Smollett reported being injured in the attack, and later told law enforcement officials that the two attackers yelled “Welcome to MAGA country!” during the incident.
A subsequent investigation by Chicago police revealed that, indeed, Smollett did walk several blocks to and from a Subway sandwich shop that evening, but that Smollett was on camera for all but about 60 seconds of his trip, during which Smollett reports the attack took place.
Although two individuals were pictured on security cameras near where Smollett says he was attacked, sources close to CPD told local media that those two individuals appear to be homeless and were in the vicinity between 15 and 30 minutes before Smollett arrived back at his apartment on East Water Street, just north of the Chicago River. Chicago Police also reportedly dismissed a neighbor’s claim that a “redneck”-looking man was loitering behind Smollett’s apartment building, according to Chicago crime watch blog, CWB Chicago.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported last week that Smollett was “reticent” to file a police report, but that another individual, present in Smollett’s apartment, encouraged him to call police and to seek medical attention. Smollett also refused to provide police with his phone, despite telling law enforcement that he had been on a call with his manager at the time of the attack.
The developments have led some to question Smollett’s version of the attack, even though the “Empire” star insists that his original version of events is the correct one, according to the Associated Press.
Fox 32 reporter Rafer Weigel reported Tuesday that he spoke to Police Superintendent Johnson and that Johnson told him Smollett is “still being treated as a victim” in his case, but that the police are pursuing all angles of the event.
— Rafer Weigel (@RaferWeigel) February 5, 2019
Sources close to the Chicago Police Department also tell The Daily Wire that police have filed a series of subpoenas in order to compel the production of Smollett’s phone records from the night of the attack, a report apparently confirmed by CWB Chicago.
Police are also looking into the source of the rope Smollett says was placed around his neck during the attack. Initially, Smollett said the rope resembled a “noose,” but upon closer examination, according to the Sun-Times, the rope appeared to be a thin “clothesline” which police believe came straight out of the package before it ended up around Smollett’s neck (Smollett was still wearing the rope when police arrived to take his report, 45 minutes after the attack).
Investigators are reportedly “visiting retail stores” looking for surveillance camera footage of anyone buying a similar product in the days before the attack.
Fox News reporter Matt Finn also says that CPD is getting its “ducks in a row” for “possible interrogations” regarding the attack, but Finn did not provide details as to who or what might be interrogated.
•CPD: no video yet of the “redneck” with a rope & redneck description didn’t match w suspects.
•Subway in hand? PD holding that detail to see if people coming forward match w/ they have on cam.
•CPD: getting ‘ducks in row’ for possible interrogations.
— Matt Finn (@MattFinnFNC) February 5, 2019
So far, the police do not appear to have any suspects or persons of interest in the case.