CHICAGO, Ill. (CBSNewYork) – Police in Chicago say the actor who claimed he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack near his home has not provided them with enough phone records to help their investigation.
It has been two weeks since “Empire” star Jussie Smollett alleged he was assaulted by two men who yelled racial and homophobic slurs at him, put a noose around his neck, and then poured an unknown liquid on him.
The 36-year-old actor added that his alleged attackers screamed “this is MAGA country” – suggesting that they were supporters of President Trump and his campaign slogan “make America great again.”
Since the Jan. 29 incident, Chicago police have not been able to identify any legitimate suspects in the case or find any surveillance video capturing the attack on film.
According to multiple reports, Smollett had refused to turn over his phone to officers after telling officers he was speaking with his manager at the time of the ambush.
Smollett has now reportedly released a heavily redacted record of his calls to police however, police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said the records “are not sufficient and do not meet the burden of a criminal investigation,” according to the Chicago Tribune.
The growing lack of evidence in the case has reportedly pushed Chicago police to even consider charging Smollett with filing a false report. CBS Chicago and other local outlets report that Johnson still wants Smollett treated as a victim, but will pursue charges against the actor if the case is proven to be a hoax.
— Rafer Weigel (@RaferWeigel) February 5, 2019
In New York, reporters for the New York Post have spoken to the actor’s neighbors, who doubt the attack actually took place.
“I don’t believe it happened the way he said it did,” Chicago resident Agin Muhammad told the Post. Muhammad reportedly lives in the same high-rise as Smollett.
“I’ve been in this neighborhood five years. I don’t believe it, not around here… Half the people are gay and the other half are black.”
A spokesperson for Chicago police added that the department was “appreciative” Smollett decided to cooperate with the investigation, but they’ll likely be asking him for more phone records in order to properly review the case.</body></html>