This image from the Chicago Police Department and taken from surveillance video shows two people of interest to an attack on "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett, walking along a street in the Streeterville neighborhood of Chicago, early Tuesday, January 29, 201
9, Chicago. The police say they have released two Nigerian brothers who had been arrested earlier this week, suspected that the assassin "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett said detectives have further investigation work to complete.
The men were picked up by police on Wednesday at Chicago's Hare International Airport and their opportunity was sought on Thursday. They were questioned on Friday, but the police were obliged to release them if they had not been charged within 48 hours.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted: "Due to new evidence due to today's interrogation, the people questioned by police in the empire case have now been released without charges."
Smollett says he was attacked on January 29 by two men shouting racial and putting a rope around the neck.
A Chicago police spokesman confirms that the two suspects arrested in the reported hate crime involving the black actor Jussie Smollett are black.
Spokesman for the Anthony Guglielmi department also says that the suspects were arrested with suspicion of assault and battery. He says the departmental policy forbids him to name the victim, but says he can say that the two Nigerian brothers were arrested for the "Empire cast member" case. Smollett is an actor on the television drama and has said he was beaten in a racist, anti-gay attack last month.
Guglielmi also says that at least one of the men in custody worked on "Empire", but he does not know in what capacity.
The men are being investigated Friday by detectives. The police picked them up on Wednesday at Chicago's Hare International Airport as they flew from Nigeria. On Thursday, the police served a search warrant in their Chicago apartment.