Jussie Smollett's family released a statement on Thursday condemning the racist, homphobic attack Jussie fell victim to on Tuesday. The family addresses those who have doubted Jussie's account of the incident, and explain that there should be no speculation as to whether or not this was a hate crime.
"We want to be clear, this was a racial and homophobic hate crime," the Smollett family said. "His story has never changed, and we are hopeful they will find these men and bring them to justice." They also note that what happened to Jussie is not an isolated incident. "We want people to understand these targeted hate crimes are happening to our sisters, brothers and our gender non-conforming siblings, many who reside within the intersection of multiple identities, on a monthly, weekly, and sometimes even daily basis all across our country," the statement reads.
Justifiably calling the cruel attack an act of "domestic terrorism," the Smollett family urges that this matter not be brushed under a proverbial rug, but rather dealt with appropriately. The family then seemingly responded to Donald Trump's statement in which he calls the attack “horrible." Jussie's attackers were reportedly chanting "MAGA country," the president's campaign slogan, as they were committing the crime. The Smollett family appears to echo the sentiment that the president's rhetoric has emboldened the indviduals committing hateful acts such as this one. "Make no mistake, words matter. Hateful words lead to hateful actions," the family said.
Police have yet to name a suspect, however, one of Jussie's neighbors told authorities that she saw a white man lurking around the front of the building at 12:30 AM the night of the attack.
According to the female neighbor, the man "looked out of place," as he smoked a cigarette and nervously paced back and forth between the building entrance and the parking garage. A second man was also seen standing 300-ft away, near another one of the building's entrances. She also noted that she saw what looked like a rope poking out from under the man's sweatshirt. Additionally, police confirmed on Thursday that they have video footage of the Empire star walking through the lobby of his building with a rope around his neck.
On Wednesday evening, Chicago police expanded the search area of the investigation, implicating two unidentified individuals who were caught on security camera footage. Police also previously said that a white powder and threatening latter was sent to to the studios where Empire is filmed back on Jan. 22, days before he was attacked.