The Chicago Police Department confirmed Friday that the suspects arrested in the alleged racist and homophobic attack against “Empire” star Jussie Smollett on Jan. 29 were two black men.
The men were identified as Nigerian brothers, The Associated Press reported. CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said both were arrested for suspicion of assault and battery. One of the suspects was on “Empire.”
TMZ reported the names of the suspects, but CPD officer Michelle Tannehill said to The Daily Caller News Foundation over email they “do not have the names of the persons of interest.”
Smollett reported two men beat him up, tied a rope around his neck, said racial and homophobic slurs and threw an unidentified chemical substance on him on Jan. 29, according to The AP.
He claimed that the attackers said “This is MAGA (Make America Great Again) country,” in a follow-up interview with CPD.
CPD said the attack could have been racially motivated in a statement released after the incident was reported. (RELATED: Chicago Police Say ‘Empire’ Actor Refuses To Turn Over Phone Records During Alleged ‘MAGA’ Attack)
The “Empire” star disputed that he ever said the attackers wore MAGA hats in a Good Morning America interview Thursday. Smollett added he believed more people would have supported instead of doubted him had he said the perpetrators were Muslim, Mexican or ‘someone black.’
Several media outlets and journalists circulated allegations from sources that Smollett and the two men were conspirators and the attack was staged. Guglielmi, however, said the “supposed CPD sources are uninformed and inaccurate” on Twitter Thursday.
Media reports anout the Empire incident being a hoax are unconfirmed by case detectives. Supt Eddie Johnson has contacted @ABC7Chicago to state on the record that we have no evidence to support their reporting and their supposed CPD sources are uninformed and inaccurate. pic.twitter.com/iSO5YFv452
— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) February 15, 2019
Police do not have footage of the incident, but are still looking, The AP reported.
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