Two men who were being questioned in connection with an attack reported by Empire actor Jussie Smollett, have been released without charge, the Chicago Police Department said. The men, who were arrested on Wednesday, were released on Friday "due to new evidence as a result of today's interrogations. Detectives have additional investigative work to complete," said Chicago Police Chief Communications Officer Anthony Guglielmi, reports cnn.com.
The men arrested were the same two who police previously said were being viewed as "potential suspects", police spokesperson Tom Ahern said. Earlier Guglielmi said the two Nigerian brothers were being treated as "potential suspects" and that there was "probable cause that they may have been involved". At that time police did not say precisely what the brothers were accused of or what the alleged crime might have been. The two men and Smollett had some kind of previous affiliation, a police source said, without providing further detail.
[caption id="attachment_214739" align="aligncenter" width="696"] Still from the show 'Empire'[/caption]
Smollett, one of the stars of the TV drama Empire, told authorities he was attacked on January 29 by the men who used "racial and homophobic slurs" on him. There was also a brief struggle, Smollett told police. One attacker had allegedly put a rope around his neck and poured an unknown chemical substance on him, before running away. Police have also searched the apartment of two other men who were apprehended at the Chicago O'Hare International Airport on Wednesday night, but they were not considered suspects at that time.
One of the brothers had appeared on Empire, according to police.
Authorities previously released surveillance images of two silhouetted figures in the area of the attack and said they were wanted for questioning.