The Chicago Police Department is searching for two persons of interest spotted in surveillance footage taken in the area where Empire star Jussie Smollett was violently assaulted.
Smollett reportedly visited a Subway sandwich shop early Tuesday morning when he was beaten by men shouting racist and homophobic slurs at him, Chicago Police said. The actor recalled that the men yelled, “This is MAGA country.”
The images, which were released to the public Wednesday, were found after the department extended the parameters of the area that they were reviewing for information. A spokesperson for the department tweeted a statement about the progress in the investigation.
“Photos of people of interest who were in area of the alleged assault & battery of Empire cast member. While video does not capture an encounter, detectives are taking this development seriously & wish to question individuals as more cameras are being reviewed,” he wrote.
Smollett was on the phone with his music manager, Brandon Z. Moore, as the assailants approached him. Moore confirmed the use of racist and homophobic language during the attack. He told Variety, “I heard that clearly. I heard the scuffle and I heard the racial slur.”
The Chicago Police Department is requesting community assistance in gathering additional information.
“We continue to seek any available evidence/video to identify possible offenders in this case. Anyone who may [have] been in area of 300 East North Water Street [between] 1-3 a.m. should send info to cpdtip.com,” the department wrote.