"Empire" actor assaulted in possible hate crime, Chicago police say

By Crimesider Staff

/ CBS/AP

Chicago — Chicago police have opened a hate crime investigation after a cast member of the television show "Empire" alleged he was attacked by men who shouted racial and homophobic slurs at him and physically attacked him.

Police haven't released the name of the 36-year-old cast member but say he reported being attacked while walking downtown around 2 a.m. Tuesday. Sources tell CBS Chicago the alleged victim is Jussie Smollett.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi says the man reported that two men approached him and began shouting the racial and homophobic slurs at him. He says they then struck him in the face and poured an unknown chemical substance on him before one of them wrapped a rope around his neck. They then fled, police say.

"Given the severity of the allegations, we are taking this investigation very seriously and treating it as a possible hate crime," Guglielmi said in a statement.

The man went to Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Guglielmi says the man is being treated at the hospital and is in good condition. The statement says the victim is cooperating fully with investigators.

Police say detectives are gathering security video from nearby businesses.

First published on January 29, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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