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Photos of Potential Jussie Smollett Attackers Released


The Chicago PD have released photos of potential persons of interests in Jussie Smollett's possible hate crime case.

The Chicago police department has released photos of two men they've named potential persons of interest in the possible hate crime attack of actor Jussie Smollett.

The dark, grainy images do not show the attack or any contact between the persons of interest and Smollett. No arrests have been made.

"While video does not capture an encounter, detectives are taking this development seriously & wish to question individuals as more cameras are being reviewed," CPD spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi stated as the photos were released.

The Empire star -- who came out on Ellen DeGeneres's talk show in 2015 -- was stopped around 2 a.m. on Tuesday in downtown Chicago by two men wearing ski masks and yelling racial and homophobic slurs. The individuals then placed a noose around Smollett's neck. The two men punched Smollett and then poured an unknown substance on him.

"This is MAGA country," the men then yelled, according to Chicago police officials who spoke to The Advocate. This information was gleaned from interviews with Smollett after the attack, according to the CPD.

Smollett was able to return to his apartment nearby and had his manager call police who arrived about 40 minutes later, Chicago police say. Upon arrival, officers saw that the actor had cuts and scrapes on his face. A rope hung around his neck, which he states was put there by an assailant.

The actor was able to self-transport himself to Northwestern Memorial Hospital after police advised him to.

Chicago police are still investigating the incident as a possible hate crime, and the FBI has joined in after being alerted that Smollett received threatening hate mail at Fox Studios in Chicago.

The letters were addressed to the star and stated "You will die black Fag" in magazine cutout letters alongside a drawing of a person, presumably Smollett, being shot.

The FBI has not responded to a request for comment on their investigation or its scope.

As news of the attacks continues to spread around the world, the actor has seen an immense amount of support from politicians, celebrities, and fans. Former Vice President Joe Biden tweeted out support, alongside Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and virtually all other Democratic leaders; even actor Kevin Hart shared his dismay at the attack.

Presidential hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris and Sen. Cory Booker used the incident to highlight their anti-lynching legislation that now awaits a House vote after passing the Senate.

"It's outrageous. I know Jussie -- he is one of the kindest most gentle people I have ever met," Harris said on the Senate floor Tuesday afternoon. "It's awful."

Harris and Booker have been making requests to the Democratic-led Congress to pass their legislation with "urgency" in the wake of the attack.

Smollett has yet to respond publicly to the attacks, but the actor's management has informed The Advocate that he will be flying to Los Angeles this weekend to perform at a previously scheduled concert.

Fox Studios says the cast of Empire will continue filming the show's next season and has increased security for the entire show.

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