Some of the outrage stems from Smollett's account to detectives that his attackers yelled that he was in "MAGA country", an apparent reference to the Trump campaign's "Make America Great Again" slogan, which some critics of the president have decried as racist and discriminatory.
He goes on to say that "America is better than that" and said embracing others' differences should begin at home.
"Photos of people of interest who were in area of the alleged assault & battery of Empire cast member", Anthony Guglielmi, the police's chief communications officer, tweeted on January 30, referring to the photos.
The Fox show's production schedule remains "fluid" for the rest of the week, according to the source.
A day after Jussie Smollett was attacked in a vicious hate crime, police are seeking persons of interest. Police say Smollett has been cooperative and took them on a walk-through of the area in question.
Before Smollett's incident, additional security was hired for the Empire set after Fox Studios' Chicago offices allegedly received a threatening homophobic letter addressed to the actor, who is gay, last week.
After the attack, Smollett returned to his apartment, and his manager called police from there about 40 minutes later, Guglielmi said.
F1 champion Alonso wins rain-soaked Rolex 24 at Daytona
The race was called 10 minutes short of completion because heavy rain had created driving conditions too risky to continue. The 24-hour race ended a few minutes early due to poor weather conditions and was red flagged twice because of rain.
Police are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime; no suspects have been identified. They are in the area that we have determined it could have taken place... in the time and the area.
Top politicians also expressed horror over the incident, and demanded action, among them US senator and presidential hopeful Kamala Harris, and senator Cory Booker.
But just hours after it happened the attack has already been turned into a "fake news" controversy due to the allegation that the attackers yelled "MAGA country" during the attack.
"Jussie Smollett is one of the kindest, most gentle human beings I know", wrote Harris.
"Jussie's the one that starts singing when everybody's in a bad mood", he said. "We must confront this hate".
Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson have come out to share their love and show support for Jussie Smollett after the "Empire" co-star was attacked in Chicago early Tuesday morning. "We send out love to Jussie, who is resilient and strong, and we will work with law enforcement to bring these perpetrators to justice", the statement read.