'Empire' actor defends redacted phone records

Danny Woods
February 13, 2019

Almost two weeks after "Empire" star Jussie Smollett claimed he was the victim of a racist, homophobic attack, cops have yet to identify any suspects - and some people in his tony Chicago neighborhood are growing skeptical.

He reportedly told police that the men used racial and homophobic slurs before beating him, pouring what may have been bleach onto him, and leaving a noose around his neck before proclaiming, "This is MAGA country", as they left. However, according to Chicago POlice Superintendent Eddie Johnson, while Smollett's case is being treated as a hate crime, he said the actor will be held accountable if he filed a false report.

Chicago Police department told Page Six on Tuesday, that the records the 36-year-old actor provided for the investigation into his alleged attack were "limited and redacted" and "insufficient for a criminal investigation".

Police said staff members of the New York Post found a bottle on the scene, but a police spokesman notes "it's unclear if that is related to the incident as it was not discovered during any of the earlier canvasses". "Detectives may be following up with the victim to request additional data to corroborate the investigative timeline". On January 31, one day after local law enforcement released photos of "persons of interest" in the matter, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi referred to the matter as an "assault and battery case". They also claimed the "Empire" actor "refused" to give the cops his phone.

A neighbor claimed to have seen a "redneck" with a rope but Chicago police were unable to find video surveillance from the area to support this.

"I don't believe it happened the way he said it did", said Agin Muhammad, who lives in the same swank high-rise near the Navy Pier as Smollett.

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The assailants allegedly punched Smollett in the face, doused him with a liquid - believed to be bleach - and tied a rope round around his neck in an underpass between the Sheraton and Loews Chicago hotels.

Smollett told police at the time of the attack he was on the phone with his manager, Brandon Z. Moore. They have yet to locate footage of the actual attack.

Threatening letters directed at Smollett were reportedly sent to Fox Studios in Chicago a week before.

According to another tweet from Elgas, "Smollett requested responding Chicago police officers turn off their body cameras as they arrived to take his report".

Hopefully, the Chicago Police Department is taking this case with the seriousness it deserves.

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