Chappelle attack: Suspect is now facing 4 misdemeanor charges after DA declines felony prosecution
LOS ANGELES (KABC) — The armed man who is accused of attacking Dave Chappelle on stage at the Hollywood Bowl is now facing several misdemeanor charges related to the incident.
Earlier on Thursday, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office announced 23-year-old Isaiah Lee won’t face any felony charges and referred the case to the L.A. City Attorney, who only handles misdemeanors.
Lee has been charged with battery, possession of a weapon with intent to assault, and two charges related to interfering with a performer.
“This alleged attack has got to have consequences,” said L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer in a video message. “My office takes protecting public safety extremely seriously, and we’re going to vigorously prosecute this case.”
Lee was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon shortly after tackling the comedian Tuesday night. He’s being held on $30,000 bail. It’s unclear what motivated Lee to run onto the stage.
County prosecutors determined that while criminal conduct occurred “the evidence as presented did not constitute felony conduct.”
Police said Lee was armed with a replica handgun-knife when he ran onto the stage and tackled Chappelle. Witness video shows Chappelle falling back but he managed to quickly free himself as security rushed out to grab the attacker.
According to ABC News sources, L.A. County prosecutors chose not to move forward with felony charges because Lee wasn’t brandishing the knife.
He reportedly had it in some sort of bag.
Exclusive footage from AIR7 HD captured the attacker on a gurney as he was being loaded into an ambulance to be taken to a hospital for unspecified injuries.
“The replica handgun, which contained a knife blade, was recovered and booked as evidence,” police said in a statement.
A spokesperson for Chappelle issued a statement Wednesday, calling the incident “unfortunate and unsettling” but saying he refuses to let it overshadow the record-breaking performance at the Hollywood Bowl.
She noted that the comedian continued with his show and worked with Jamie Foxx and Chris Rock to help calm the crowd with humor. He is cooperating with the police investigation into the incident.
Spokesperson Carla Sims’ statement reads:
“Dave Chappelle celebrated four nights of comedy and music, setting record-breaking sales for a comedian at the Hollywood Bowl. This run ties Chappelle with Monty Python for the most headlined shows by any comedian at the Hollywood Bowl, reaching 70k fans of diverse backgrounds during the first Netflix Is A Joke: The Festival, and he refuses to allow last night’s incident to overshadow the magic of this historic moment.”
“As unfortunate and unsettling as the incident was, Chappelle went on with the show. Jamie Foxx and Chris Rock helped calm the crowd with humor before Chappelle introduced the last and featured musical guests for the evening, hip-hop artists yasiin bey and Talib Kweli, a.k.a. Black Star, who performed music from their new album – the first in nearly 24 years – which was released on Luminary. Other special comedic guests last night included Earthquake, Leslie Jones, Jeff Ross, Sebastian, Jon Stewart and Michelle Wolf.”
A spokesperson for Netflix also issued a brief statement: “We care deeply about the safety of creators and we strongly defend the right of stand-up comedians to perform on stage without fear of violence.”
The comedian was not injured in the attack and later joked with the audience about it.
Comedian Chris Rock, who performed earlier in the night, came on stage with Chappelle moments after the attack and joked: “Was that Will Smith?”
ABC News contributed to this report.
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