Dave Chappelle attacker will not face felony charges

Suspect was not brandishing the replica gun and knife weapon when he stormed the stage, sources have said

Annabel Nugent
Thursday 05 May 2022 21:57
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'Is that Will Smith?': Chris Rock mocks actor after Dave Chappelle is attacked on stage
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The man who tackled Dave Chappelle on stage with a replica gun and knife will not face charges.

Isaiah Lee, 23, was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon after he ran on stage at the Netflix is a Joke festival in Los Angeles and “lunged” at the comedian on Tuesday night (3 May).

Chappelle was not injured during the incident and is fully cooperating with the police investigation.

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon’s office declined to file felony charges on Thursday (5 May).

The DA’s office has referred the case to the LA city attorney’s office for misdemeanour filing consideration instead, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Prosecutors determined that while Lee’s actions constituted criminal conduct, the evidence as presented did not constitute felony conduct. The DA’s office does not prosecute misdemeanour crimes in LA.

Among the reasons why the incident has not risen to a felony charge of assault with a deadly weapon is a source who told the publication that Lee was not brandishing the weapon when he stormed on stage.

The source said that the replica gun and knife was inside a bag that he had been carrying.

Weapon found on Lee’s person

Los Angeles Police Department sources told The LA Times that detectives are reviewing videos from the night to better understand how Lee evaded security at the Hollywood Bowl, where the event was taking place.

LAPD sources said that Lee, carrying the knife in his bag, managed to get past the security searches and metal credentials. He was also able to reach the stage unchallenged.

On Wednesday (4 May), Chapelle issued a statement addressing the attack, saying that he “refuses to allow last night’s incident to overshadow the magic of this historic moment”.

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Chappelle’s rep called the incident “unfortunate and unsettlling” but praised fellow entertainers Jamie Foxx and Chris Rock for helping to “calm the crowd with humour” before he continued his set.

Rock made headlines in the aftermath for asking “was that Will Smith?”, in reference to the infamous slap he received by the Best Actor winner at this year’s Oscars ceremony.

Footage of the attack and Rock’s ensuing comment in response has since surfaced online.

Chappelle was met with criticisim for quipping that his attacker must have been a “trans man”, suggesting he was a target because of his past jokes aimed at the transgender community.

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