The police did not state what charges the men are being held on. Local media have identified the men as two brothers from Nigeria, though law enforcement has not confirmed their identities.
“Detectives have probable cause that they may have been involved in an alleged crime and we are working to corroborate the allegations and investigative timeline as our investigation continues,” Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement.
Smollett’s representatives have declined to say whether he has identified the men as his attackers.
An attorney for the men, Gloria Schmidt, told CBS Chicago on Thursday that the men know Smollett from working on the Fox show. She denied that they had assaulted Smollett.
Smollett told police on Jan. 29 that he was beaten by two men at 2 a.m. in the 300 block of E. North Water Street. He said his attackers yelled racial and homophobic epithets, doused him with bleach, and put a rope around his neck.
Chicago police said Thursday that reports that the event was a hoax are unconfirmed, and were based on incorrect information.
“While we haven’t found any video documenting the alleged attack, there is also no evidence to say that this is a hoax,” Guglielmi said. “The alleged victim is being cooperative at this time and continues to be treated as a victim, not a suspect.”