Chicago police have opened a hate crime investigation after “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett alleged he was attacked in Chicago early Tuesday morning by two men who shouted racial and homophobic slurs at him and physically attacked him.
CBS News confirmed with Chicago police that the two masked attackers cited President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan after physically attacking the actor, reportedly yelling “MAGA country” at him.
“In the initial reports there was no mention of MAGA,” a police statement provided to People reads. “When detectives [followed] up with him later in the day, he recalled the offenders making those comments and detectives completed a supplemental report.”
The 36-year-old out singer and actor was admitted to Northwestern Memorial Hospital after the assault and is in “good condition,” according to police.
“The alleged assailants made racially charged comments to the victim implying that they knew he was a star from the show,” police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told the Chicago Sun Times.
According to Police, two men began “yelling out racial and homophobic slurs” before physically attacking the actor.
During the attack, the suspects “poured an unknown chemical substance,” possibly bleach, on Smollett and one of the attackers wrapped a rope around his neck.
According to HuffPost, the FBI has taken over the investigation in the wake of news that Smollett has received a threatening letter prior to the attack.
“Given the severity of the allegations, we are taking this investigation very seriously and treating it as a possible hate crime,” Chicago police said in a Tuesday statement. “Detectives are currently working to gather video, identify potential witnesses and establish an investigative timeline.”
As of Tuesday evening, police said they had yet to find surveillance video that showed the crime.
“Thus far, no video of the alleged assailants or a vehicle has been discovered but we are continuing to broaden our search,” Chicago Police Department spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi said on Twitter.