Man Who Attacked Dave Chappelle Will Not Face Felony Charges

Published May 6th, 2022 - 07:40 GMT
Man Who Attacked Dave Chappelle Will Not Face Felony Charges
In this file photo taken on October 27, 2019, US comedian Dave Chappelle and recipient of the Mark Twain Award for American Humor arrives at the Kennedy Center for the award ceremony in Washington, DC. Video footage circulating on social media shows that as Chappelle was finishing a set during the "Netflix Is A Joke" comedy festival at the Hollywood Bowl on May 3, 2022, a male audience member climbed on stage and threw him to the ground. (Photo by Alex Edelman / AFP)

The man who rushed onstage and attacked comedian Dave Chappelle during his performance earlier this week at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles won't face felony charges.

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón's office declined Thursday to file felony charges against 23-year-old Isaiah Lee, who was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon after he appeared to tackle Chappelle during Tuesday's comedy show.

The district attorney's office opted against pursuing felony charges despite Lee carrying a replica pistol with a folding knife attached to it. The Los Angeles Times reported that Lee didn't appear to brandish the weapon during the incident, and the weapon was inside a bag that Lee was carrying.

"After reviewing the evidence, prosecutors determined that while criminal conduct occurred, the evidence as presented did not constitute felony conduct," Greg Risling, spokesperson for the L.A. County District Attorney's Office, said in a statement. "The District Attorney's Office does not prosecute misdemeanor crimes within the city of Los Angeles."

The case instead was referred to the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office for misdemeanor filing consideration. In a short video message, L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer said his office will "vigorously prosecute this case."

Lee, who is still being held on $30,000 bail, is now facing multiple misdemeanor charges related to the incident, according to court documents. He 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," Feuer said in his video message. "My office takes protecting public safety extremely seriously, and we're going to vigorously prosecute this case."

Footage of the alleged attack is sparse as attendees' phones were made inaccessible during Chappelle's stand-up performance. Phones could be used, however, in certain designated areas.

Some patrons managed to film a man rushing onstage and tackling Chappelle before he was apprehended by security and reportedly Jamie Foxx, who attended the Netflix Is A Joke festival.

Other footage showed the aftermath of the alleged incident, with Chappelle seemingly unaffected. Chappelle also was joined onstage by Foxx and Chris Rock, who jokingly referenced Will Smith.

Chappelle also made multiple jokes following the alleged incident.

"It was a trans man," Chappelle quipped shortly after the attack, referencing the past controversy surrounding his Netflix stand-up special The Closer.

If convicted on the misdemeanor counts, Lee faces up to 1 1/2 years in jail and a $4,000 fine.


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