By Gabriella Borter | Reuters
Suspects arrested in connection with an alleged racist and homophobic assault on “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett in Chicago were released Friday, police said.
“Due to new evidence as a result of today’s interrogations, the individuals questioned by police in the Empire case have now been released without charging and detectives have additional investigative work to complete,” the Chicago Police Department said in an email to Reuters.
The individuals are no longer being classified as suspects, the department said.
A spokesman for the department on Friday night declined to confirm to Reuters whether the individuals released were the two Nigerian brothers police said they arrested on Wednesday at Chicago O’Hare Airport in connection to the attack.
Authorities had previously said only that the pair, whose names have not been released, were persons of interest after they were recognized from surveillance camera footage taken in the area where Smollett said two men shouted slurs at him and put a rope around his neck on Jan. 29.
“Detectives have probable cause that they may have been involved in an alleged crime and we are working to corroborate the allegations and investigative timeline as our investigation continues,” police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement.
He has denied a media report on Thursday that said officers were investigating whether Smollett staged the attack because he was being written out of the television show.
“While we haven’t found any video documenting the alleged attack, there is no evidence to say that this is a hoax. The alleged victim is being cooperative at this time and continues to be treated as a victim, not a suspect,” Guglielmi said on Friday.
News of the alleged attack on Smollett, a 36-year-old openly gay African-American who plays a gay character on the hip-hop drama “Empire,” caused uproar on social media, but some have …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment