Some of Jussie Smollett’s neighbors are saying the attack didn’t happen the way the actor says it did. And a few of them have gone to reporters to say so.
“I don’t believe it happened the way he said it did,” said Agin Muhammad, who lives in the same building as Smollett.
“I’ve been in this neighborhood five years. I don’t believe it, not around here … Half the people are gay and the other half are black.”
Mr. Muhammad isn’t the only one in the neighborhood who thinks so, as the New York Post also spoke to an unidentified man at the Lizzie McNeill’s Irish Pub. The Pub is only a block from the alleged crime scene. This anonymous man says that Smollett’s story “doesn’t really make sense.”
“It’s a lie, because Chicago is the most liberal city around,” said the man, who wouldn’t give his name. “They have cameras everywhere … Why can’t they find the attack?”
But does being liberal equate to less crime? We’re not so sure on that, and it seems experts aren’t either.
While the Chicago Sun Times reports that hate crime records dropped in Chicago in 2017, The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University found that there was a 12.5 percent increase to crimes in the top 10 U.S. cities including Chicago. As such, this one identified man’s idea that a fairly liberal locale equates to lowered crime doesn’t seem very factual.
As for Smollett himself, he insists that he’s been as open and honest as possible with both the police and the public.
“I am working with authorities and have been 100% factual and consistent on every level,” the actor told Essence magazine in January. “Despite my frustrations and deep concern with certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations that have been spread, I still believe that justice will be served.”
Meanwhile, the police believe in Jussie Smollett’s account of the attack as well.
“We have no reason to doubt the statements, but for a criminal investigation, we need to independently confirm the phone records,” Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.
“We offered to take the phone to download the data and he expressed he couldn’t be without his phone for several hours.”
That said, Chicago Police Supt Eddie Johnson came forward to say that Jussie will be held accountable if his information turns out to be a lie.
Currently, the police have released video surveillance photos of the two suspected culprits, but no arrests have been made.
Smollett shared that he was confronted by the two men, one wearing a black mask, near an underpass between the Sheraton and Loews Chicago hotels.
The men called him anti-gay and racist slurs before engaging in a physical altercation. During that fight, the men wrapped a rope around his neck, like a noose, and allegedly doused him with a liquid believed to be bleach.
Last week, the New York Post found an empty hot sauce bottle that was partially filled with a clear liquid that smelled like bleach. Police seized the bottle after being alerted to it and the FBI acquired it for analysis.