Dave Chappelle wants DA to ‘correct the mistake’ and file felony charges

Dave Chappelle is not happy that Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón refused to file felony charges against the man who tackled him to the ground on stage during the Netflix is ​​a joke festival earlier this week — and he wants the county’s top prosecutor to get the case back from misdemeanor court, his attorney says.

“We ask that DA Gascón reconsider, correct this error and charge this with a crime,” Chappelle’s attorney Gabriel Colwell said. rolling stone. “That’s what Mr. Chappelle wants. Mr. Chappelle wants this case charged as a felony.

The lawyer said it wasn’t just about his client. “Los Angeles performers need to know that the legal system will protect them on stage,” he said.

“Ten thousand people saw Dave Chappelle assaulted on stage 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,” Colwell said, partner at Squire Patton Boggs.

Suspect Isaiah Lee, 23, now faces four misdemeanor charges filed Thursday night by the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office after the case was dismissed by Gascón. Lee is accused of storming onto the stage and violently dismissing Chappelle while possessing a replica gun with a switchblade knife during the savage takedown. At his arraignment on Friday, he pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor assault and battery, misdemeanor possession of a deadly weapon with intent to assault and two violations related to storming the stage and interference with a representation.

The arraignment coincided with the prosecutor’s office releasing a document explaining why it declined the case. According to the worksheet, a “slow motion review of video footage” showed that Lee was not brandishing the gun when he lunged at Chapelle. The prosecutor’s office said it wasn’t until Lee rushed backstage that he reached for his belt for the gun that was snatched from his hands by a security guard.

Lee, who was arrested after the attack and suspected of assault with a deadly weapon, remained in custody on Friday, wearing a padded blue protective vest and waist shackle for his first court appearance. His right arm was bandaged and in a sling as he stood silently behind a partition. His public defender, Chelsea Padilla, pleaded not guilty on his behalf and pleaded for his release without bond. She said Lee had “no history of abuse” and was about to move into permanent housing through a community-based nonprofit. Padilla said Lee had eight days to sign his lease or lose his spot in line for supportive housing.

Padilla, who fought unsuccessfully to exclude the media from the hearing, pointed to the fact that police reports indicated her client’s alleged weapon “was not brandished at any time”. She said, at most, the allegation is that Lee was trying to reach the replica gun during the scuffle with security. She later confirmed that her client suffered “a broken arm and significant facial injuries” in the ensuing melee. She pointed out that “a video was released of about 12 people stomping on Lee while he was on stage.”

Los Angeles City Attorney Henrico Bautista revealed in court that Padilla’s motion to seal the impeachment included the argument that his client had an undisclosed ‘mental health issue’ and was receiving “mental health treatment”. Bautista said Lee “reached for his belt and tried to use a folding knife” after “charging a vulnerable victim on stage who wasn’t expecting it.”

Before the judge denied Lee’s release and ordered him back to jail with bail still set at $30,000, Colwell appeared by phone and asked the court to issue a strict protective order. He specifically requested that the order include the comedian’s residence in Ohio and “any location where Mr. Chappelle performs.”

The judge granted the order, saying that upon his release, Lee must stay 100 yards from Chappelle at all times and avoid his residences, venues where he performs and the Hollywood Bowl, where the Tuesday night pullout took place. place.

According to the prosecutor’s felony denial documents obtained by rolling stone, DA officials determined that Chappelle was uninjured in the incident and that the approximately three-inch blade contained within the replica gun remained in the “retracted position” the entire time. They also found no evidence that Lee had any prior “animosity” toward Chappelle, and there were no “prior credible threats that could have caused the victim to reasonably fear for his or her safety,” the documents say.

The Worksheet noted that Lee released a rap song titled “Dave Chappell” in 2020, but DA officials determined “none of the song’s lyrics, tone or language suggested threats or hatred.” towards the actor.

Chappelle shared new details about the attack during a last-minute ‘secret show’ at the Comedy Store’s 70-seat Belly Room on Thursday night, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Comedian Chris Rock, who was slapped by actor Will Smith at the 2022 Oscars and was also at the Hollywood Bowl on Tuesday night, joined him on stage as the men traded jokes.

“At least you got punched by someone big name,” Chappelle reportedly said. “I was hit by a homeless man with leaves in his hair.”

Rock then said of Smith, “I got hit with the sweetest nigga that ever rapped.”

Chappelle further revealed that he managed to convince the police to let him speak with Lee before the suspect was taken to a hospital in custody. The comedian said Lee appeared to be mentally disturbed and told him he was trying to bring attention to the gentrification issue in his grandmother’s Brooklyn neighborhood.

Lee’s brother Aaron Lee once said rolling stone that Lee moved from New York to California after the death of his grandmother. He said his brother had been in and out of homeless shelters in Los Angeles in recent years and struggled with mental health issues. It wasn’t immediately clear if Isaiah Lee was referring to his late grandmother.

“He’s on psychological medication, and that was probably a factor. And then maybe something made him act like that. I don’t know,” says Aaron Lee. “He’s not the kind of person to attack you for no reason. But if he’s not taking his meds and he feels like everyone is against him, maybe that’s it.

Lee was charged by the Los Angeles City Attorney on Thursday after the Los Angeles County District Attorney dismissed the case saying the evidence did not rise to the level of criminal conduct, even though Lee allegedly had a replica weapon with a switchblade in his hand during the incident.

Replica handgun recovered from the suspect.

LAPD

“What should have been an evening of laughs at the Hollywood Bowl last Tuesday night was suddenly cut short when suspect Isaiah Lee allegedly charged onto the stage and tackled comedian Dave Chappelle,” City Attorney Mike Feuer said in a statement. video statement. “This alleged attack must have consequences.”

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