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Police Still Looking for Footage of Jussie Smollett Attack

Chicago cops planning to expand search
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2019 12:46 PM CST
In this March 6, 2018 file photo, actor-singer Jussie Smollett, from the Fox series, "Empire," poses for a portrait in New York.   (Photo by Victoria Will/Invision/AP, File)

(Newser) – After reviewing hundreds of hours of footage from downtown surveillance cameras, including privately-owned cameras near the scene, Chicago police have yet to find any footage of the alleged attack on Empire actor Jussie Smollett. Smollett says he was walking downtown around 2am Tuesday when two masked men assaulted him, put a rope around his neck, and threw an "unknown substance" on him. Smollett is black and gay, and plays a gay character on the Fox TV series, and police are investigating the attack as a possible hate crime. The Chicago Police Department said it will broaden its search for footage by looking at traffic camera and public bus camera footage, the AP reports.

Meanwhile, many in the showbiz industry were rallying around Smollett, including his Empire co-stars and crew, John Legend, George Takei, Margaret Cho, and many more, People and Entertainment Weekly report. Lawmakers and others also weighed in: The New York Post reports that Democratic presidential contender Kamala Harris called the attack "an attempted modern day lynching," and Rev. Al Sharpton went on TMZ to call on President Trump to denounce the attack (the attackers reportedly yelled, "This is MAGA country"). TMZ also reports Smollett, who received a threatening letter at Fox Studios in Chicago a week before the attack, had declined the studio's offer of extra security just days before the attack. Police are investigating whether the letter and the attack are connected. (Read more hate crime stories.)

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