Empire actor Jussie Smollett turned over phone records to the Chicago Police on Monday in relation to the alleged racist and homophobic attack on Smollett by two men on January 29. But, according to the police, the records are insufficient.
The Chicago Tribune reports: ‘Investigators had sought Smollett’s phone records since shortly after he reported the attack Jan. 29 in the 300 block of East North Water Street. But police described Smollett’s phone records as a heavily redacted document file and his manager’s records as a screenshot of phone calls that provide limited information to investigators. Chief police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said police were “appreciative” of Smollett’s cooperation in providing the records but said detectives will likely need additional data from Smollett to crack the case.’
The New York Post was first to report on Smollett’s release of phone records. They added: ‘Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson has said that Smollett, 36, was being treated as a crime victim, but would be held accountable if cops learn he filed a false report. Smollett told cops he was confronted by two men, one wearing a black mask, who hurled gay and racist epithets at him, calling him “’Empire’ f—-t n—-r” while he was walking home shortly before 2 a.m. The assailants allegedly punched Smollett in the face, doused him with a liquid — believed to be bleach — and tied a rope around his neck in an underpass between the Sheraton and Loews Chicago hotels.’
The NYP said that last week it retraced Smollett’s route and discovered “an empty hot sauce bottle that was partially filled with a clear liquid that smelled like bleach” and turned it over to police who turned it over to the FBI. They have declined to comment.
The FBI is also investigating a letter that was dropped off at the Empire studios, the Tribune adds: ‘On Jan. 22, witnesses told police a postal worker dropped off a letter at the studio where “Empire” is filmed. It was postmarked in southwest suburban Bedford Park on Jan. 18 and bore two American flag stamps. The letters MAGA were written in the upper-left corner of the envelope. Police have not said whether they believe the two incidents are related, and so far they are being investigated separately: the letter by the FBI and the alleged attack by Chicago police.’
Frank Gatson, the man who was with Smollett the night of the attack, spoke out last week in an interview with Extra.
Said Gatson: “I was there with Jussie. I’m the one who called 911, I am the one who took him to the hospital, and it was so scary, man, that was a scary night — my stomach was numb. I’m just glad I was the old man at his apartment when he got there, I was responsible. I said, ‘Let’s call the cops, let’s go to the hospital.’ Shout out to Chicago police, especially the sergeant that came and got things together and made us feel comfortable…Jussie is a very strong guy.”
Gatson also criticized some for their response to the attack: “It is amazing to me how the white community really supports the LGBTQ community, but it’s amazing how some black families would rather their son be a murderer than be gay. I hope that my community, the black community, understands it’s people’s business what their sexuality is. I just hope that one day the black community, the brown community, can wake up and support our brothers and sisters who are gay. The hateration is just unbelievable.”
CNN’s Don Lemon, a friend of Smollett’s told Jada Pinkett Smith on her show Red Table Talk, that he checks in with the Empire actor frequently: ‘Lemon said that he knew everyone would be picking Smollett’s story apart and that the details are not really his concern. Instead, he said, he was interested in Smollett’s “well-being.” He texts him daily to check in, because he believes he can relate very well to his situation, as a gay, black man in the spotlight. “Sometimes he responds, sometimes he doesn’t,” he said of Smollett, adding that he seems to appreciate the concern.’