Dave Chappelle’s lawyer says the comedian is unhappy with Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon’s decision not to file criminal charges against the man who allegedly attacked him on stage.
“The perversion of justice is that Gascón refuses to prosecute this case as a criminal offense,” Gabriel Colwell told the New York Post on Friday. “The city attorney, who initiated the case, is doing his job, but DA Gascón should also do his job and charge this as a criminal offense.
A man accused of attacking comedian Dave Chappelle is facing charges. Annette Arreola reports for Today in LA on Friday, May 6, 2022.
“… Entertainers in LA need to know that this is a justice system that will protect them. There is no doubt here that when someone is violently attacked by another who possesses a deadly weapon, it should be charged as a criminal offense.”
Colwell reiterated those comments to Rolling Stone magazine, telling the publication: “This is what Mr. Chappelle wants. Mr Chappelle wants this case charged as a criminal offense … Ten thousand people last saw Dave Chappelle attacked on stage in Hollywood Bowl Tuesday night, and the attacker had a deadly weapon with him. The fact that this prosecution is not charged as a crime is insane. “
Isaiah Lee, 23, was charged Thursday with the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office for individual misdemeanor counts of murder, possession of a weapon with intent to attack, unauthorized access to a stage area during a performance and committing an action that delays or interferes with the performer.
Lee is due to return to court on May 20 after pleading not guilty to four misdemeanor counts.
Earlier Thursday, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office announced it would not file any criminal charges against Lee.
“After reviewing the evidence, prosecutors determined that, although the criminal conduct occurred, the evidence as presented did not constitute a criminal offense,” the District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
The office decided to forward the case to the City Attorney’s Office, which deals with misdemeanor prosecutions.
Attempts to reach the District Attorney’s Office to respond to Colwell’s remarks on Sunday were unsuccessful.
Authorities said Lee hurried to the Bowl stage on Tuesday around 10:45 p.m. while Chappelle was performing as part of the “Netflix Is A Joke Festival.” An online video shows Chappelle being thrown to the ground by the suspect, prompting the scene’s security staff and Chappelle’s team rushing to the stage to overpower the attacker. Among those who ran to protect Chappelle was actor / comedian Jamie Foxx.
According to the Los Angeles Police Department, the suspect possessed a replica gun equipped with a retractable knife blade. The LAPD distributed photos of the weapons on Wednesday afternoon.
Lee tried to get behind the scenes after the attack, but security forcibly restrained him. Subsequent footage shows a bloody attacker with bruises on his face and a seemingly broken arm being put on a wheelchair and taken away in an ambulance.
Lee, who was originally convicted on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, remains in jail instead of bail of $ 30,000. If he manages to pay bail and is released, he is ordered to stay at least 100 feet away from Chappelle and the Hollywood Bowl.
Lee appeared in court in downtown Los Angeles on Friday with his right hand in his belt – the result of his violent arrest on stage at the Bowl, when he was quickly and violently detained by security guards and Chappelle’s entourage.
If convicted on all counts, Lee could face up to 18 months in county jail and / or a fine of up to $ 4,000, according to the City Attorney’s Office.
It is not clear how the suspect brought the 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 the attack on Chappelle.
On Instagram, Lee is titled “Noname_Trapper,” which is the name of a rapper whose work includes a 2020 song called “Dave Chappelle”.
Lee posted a short video on Instagram on Tuesday, saying nothing but showing him wearing the same hooded T-shirt he was shown handcuffed to a wheelchair on Tuesday night after the attack.
Lee said nothing in the short video, but used a video filter that shows up with horns like the devil on his head and blood dripping from his nose – also similar to the blood seen on his face after his captivity at the Bowl.
Tuesday’s attack came on the last night of a four-night engagement by Chappelle and fellow performers at the Bowl as part of the “Netflix Is A Joke Festival”.
Carla Sims, a spokeswoman for Chappelle, made a statement Wednesday calling the attack “unfortunate and disturbing”, but said the comedian did not allow it to disrupt the whole series of performances.
“Dave Chappelle celebrated four evenings of comedy and music, achieving record sales for a comedian at the Hollywood Bowl,” Sims says. “This competition connects Chappelle with Monty Python for the most highlighted show of any comedian at the Hollywood Bowl, reaching 70,000 fans of various backgrounds during the first film ‘Netflix Is A Joke: The Festival,’ and he refuses to let last night’s incident overshadow the magic of this historic moment.”
Chappelle suddenly appeared at the Comedy Store on Sunset Boulevard on Thursday night, and according to various media reports, the comedian said he had a chance to talk to Lee before being taken away by paramedics.
Chappelle told the crowd that Lee claimed the attack was designed to draw attention to the plight of Lee’s grandmother, who was expelled from her home in Brooklyn due to gentrification.