'Empire' Actor Jussie Smollett Alleged Hate Crime Investigation Yields More Questions, No Answers
Two days after the incident, the ongoing investigation into the alleged hate crime targeting "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett has raised more questions than it has answered. Pictures of two shadowy figures released last night — Chicago Police are calling them "persons of interest" — will only add to the controversy.
As I reported here at PJ Media yesterday, Smollett claims he was physically assaulted by two individuals wearing ski masks and gloves at 2 a.m. Tuesday in downtown Chicago. They allegedly shouted, "This is MAGA country," along with other racist and anti-gay slurs. Smollett, who had just visited a Subway sandwich shop, is black and gay and had been a harsh critic of Donald Trump for years prior to his presidential campaign.
But shifting versions of the story told by Smollett have raised questions about what exactly happened.
For instance, Smollett initially was reluctant to make any kind of statement, but in his initial interview with police 45 minutes after the alleged attack, he made no mention of the MAGA claims.
When that element was reported by TMZ and other media outlets, Chicago Police denied the claim. But after contacting him a second time, Smollett expanded his version of the story to include the MAGA element.
The Associated Press reported yesterday that police have reviewed hundreds of hours of surveillance video from the heavily monitored area, but found no images of the attack. The city of Chicago operates an advanced linked network of 30,000 closed-circuit cameras around the city, the New York Times reported last May.
Last night, Chicago Police announced they had two possible persons of interest and released shadowy photos of the pair.
There is no video, however, of the two individuals and Smollett ever being together. The time of the videos is between 1:30 and 1:45 a.m., at least 15 to 30 minutes before the time of the alleged attack, according to local media.
The local ABC affiliate reported:
Police said they have tracked Smollett's movements that night. They confirmed video shows Smollett walking across the street from the two possible persons of interest. Police said in the video he walks out of frame for about a minute and reappears on another camera "wearing a rope like a neck tie."
Police said there is no video of an assault. Investigators said he walked into an apartment building, passing security and boarding an elevator. He would then enter an apartment and that's where police were eventually called.