Nearly two weeks after “Empire” star Jussie Smollett claimed he was the victim of a racist, homophobic attack, cops have yet to identify any suspects — and some people in his tony Chicago neighborhood are growing skeptical.
“I don’t believe it happened the way he said it did,” said Agin Muhammad, who lives in the same swank high-rise near the Navy Pier 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.”
A patron at Lizzie McNeill’s Irish Pub, about a block from the scene of the alleged Jan. 29 incident, said 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?”
Cops have said they found plenty of surveillance video, but none that captured the incident.
Meanwhile, Chicago police said Sunday that Smollett has yet to turn over data from his cellphone to verify that he was on the phone with his music manager, Brandon Moore, when he was allegedly attacked.
Moore has said he heard Smollett’s assailants shout a “racial slur” and the words “MAGA country,” an apparent reference to President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.
“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.”
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.
Last week, The Post traced Smollett’s likely route to the underpass from a 24-hour Subway sandwich shop where he bought a tuna sandwich and a salad.
Near the foot of a stairwell to the Loews, The Post found an empty hot sauce bottle that was partially filled with a clear liquid that smelled like bleach.
The Post alerted police, who seized the bottle. Guglielmi said it was turned over to the FBI for analysis.
The FBI declined to comment.
SOURCE: Page Six – Reporting by Gabrielle Fonrouge, Bruce Golding