Dave Chappelle’s attorney says the comedian is unhappy with Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón’s decision not to file a felony charge against the man who allegedly assaulted him on stage.
“It’s a travesty of justice that Gascón refuses to pursue this case as a crime,” Gabriel Colwell told the New York Post on Friday. “The city prosecutor, who filed the case, is doing his job but DA Gascón should also do his job and charge this with a crime.
A man accused of attacking comedian Dave Chappelle is facing charges. Annette Arreola reports for Today in LA on Friday, May 6, 2022.
“… Artists in Los Angeles need to know that this is a justice system that will protect them. There is no doubt here that when a person is violently assaulted by another in possession of a deadly weapon , she should be charged with a crime.”
Colwell echoed those comments to Rolling Stone magazine, telling the publication, “That’s what Mr. Chappelle wants. Mr. Chappelle wants this case charged with a felony. … Ten thousand people saw Dave Chappelle assaulted on scene at the Hollywood Bowl last Tuesday night, and the assailant had a deadly weapon on him. The fact that this was not charged with a crime by the prosecutor is insane.”
Isaiah Lee, 23, was charged Thursday by the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office with a single count of assault, possession of a weapon with intent to assault, unauthorized access allowed onstage during a performance and committing an act that delays an event or interferes with a performer.
Lee is due back in court on May 20 after pleading not guilty to all four counts.
Earlier Thursday, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced that it would not be filing any felony charges against Lee.
“After reviewing the evidence, prosecutors have determined that although criminal conduct did occur, the evidence as presented does not constitute criminal conduct,” according to a statement from the district attorney’s office.
The bureau opted to refer the case to the city attorney’s office, which handles misdemeanor prosecutions.
Attempts to reach the district attorney’s office for a response to Colwell’s remarks on Sunday were unsuccessful.
Authorities said Lee rushed onto the Bowl stage around 10:45 p.m. Tuesday while Chappelle was performing as part of the “Netflix Is A Joke Festival.” and Chappelle’s team to rush to the stage to subdue the attacker. Among those running to protect Chappelle was actor/comedian Jamie Foxx.
According to the Los Angeles Police Department, the suspect was in possession of a replica handgun fitted with a retractable knife blade. The LAPD circulated photos of the weapon Wednesday afternoon.
Lee attempted to rush backstage after the attack, but was forcefully overpowered by security. Later footage showed the bloodied assailant with bruises to his face and an apparently broken arm placed on a stretcher and taken to an ambulance.
Lee, who was originally booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, remains jailed in lieu of $30,000 bond. If he manages to post bail and is released, he is ordered to stay at least 100 yards from Chappelle and the Hollywood Bowl.
Lee appeared in a downtown Los Angeles court on Friday with his right arm in a sling – the result of his violent onstage arrest at the Bowl, when he was quickly and forcibly detained by security and the entourage of Chappelle.
If convicted on all counts, Lee could face up to 18 months in jail and/or up to $4,000 in fines, according to the city attorney’s office.
It is unclear how the suspect was able to transport a weapon to the scene. The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, which oversees the Bowl, said Thursday it would step up security at performances in response to Chappelle’s attack.
On Instagram, Lee goes by the nickname “Noname_Trapper”, which is the name of a rapper whose work includes a 2020 song called “Dave Chappelle”.
Lee posted a short video to Instagram on Tuesday, saying nothing but showing him wearing the same hoodie he is pictured in handcuffed to the paramedics’ stretcher on Tuesday night following the attack.
Lee said nothing on the short video, but used a video filter showing himself with devil-shaped horns on his head and blood pouring from his nose – also similar to the blood seen on his face after his detention at the Bowl .
Tuesday’s attack happened on the final night of a four-night engagement by Chappelle and other performers at the Bowl as part of the “Netflix Is A Joke Festival.”
Carla Sims, a representative for Chappelle, released a statement on Wednesday calling the attack “unfortunate and disturbing,” but said the comedian wasn’t letting it spoil the overall performance streak.
“Dave Chappelle celebrated four nights of comedy and music, setting record sales for a comedian at the Hollywood Bowl,” according to Sims. “This run ties Chappelle to Monty Python for the most successful performances by any comedian at the Hollywood Bowl, reaching 70,000 fans from all walks of life at the first ‘Netflix Is A Joke: The Festival,’ and he refuses to let the ‘Last night’s incident overshadows the magic of this historic moment.’
On Thursday night, Chappelle made a surprise appearance at the Comedy Store on Sunset Boulevard, and according to various outlets, the comedian said he had the chance to speak to Lee before he was taken away by paramedics.
Chappelle told the crowd that Lee claimed the attack was designed to bring attention to the plight of Lee’s grandmother, who was moved from her Brooklyn home due to gentrification.
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