Dave Chappelle slams California prosecutor over lenient charges for attacker

Days after being assaulted on stage, Dave Chappelle voiced his displeasure with L.A. District Attorney George Gascón's decision not to file felony charges against his attacker.

Dave Chappelle slams California prosecutor over lenient charges for attacker
AP Photo/David Richard, File
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Comedian Dave Chappelle, who was attacked on stage by an armed man while performing at a Los Angeles show last week, has slammed L.A. District Attorney George Gascón for slapping the assailant with reduced misdemeanour charges instead of a felony.

Chappelle called on the prosecutor's office to “correct this mistake” and to treat the case with the severity it deserves. Gascón’s office declined to charge 23-year-old Isaiah Lee with a felony, despite initially booking him with the charge after he reportedly reached for a spring-loaded knife attached to a fake gun.

“After reviewing the evidence, prosecutors determined that while criminal conduct occurred, the evidence as presented did not constitute felony conduct,” said Los Angeles DA spokesman Greg Risling, who declined to elaborate because the case “remains open and under investigation,” Rolling Stone reported.

Police said that Lee was booked on felony assault with a deadly weapon after he charged and assaulted Chappelle at 10:40 p.m. local time on Tuesday toward the end of his performance at his “Netflix is a Joke” festival.

The district attorney’s office has reduced Lee’s charges to four misdemeanours, including “battery, possessing a deadly weapon with intent to assault, unlawfully crossing from a spectator area onto a stage at a theatrical event and interfering with or delaying such an event with unlawful conduct,” per the publication.

Lee pleaded not guilty to all four charges.

In a statement to Rolling Stone, speaking through his attorney Gabriel Colwell, Chappelle called on the district attorney’s office to “reconsider, correct this mistake, and charge this as a felony.”

“This is what Mr. Chappelle wants,” Colwell said. “Mr. Chappelle wants this case charged as a felony. Entertainers in Los Angeles need to know that the justice system will protect them on stage.”

The Rolling Stone reported:

It wasn’t immediately clear how the suspect got close enough to the stage to attack or whether he smuggled the replica gun through security checkpoints that included metal detectors. Contemporary Services Corporation is the contractor who handles security inside the venue. An official listed on the CSC website as overseeing the Hollywood Bowl did not respond to an email seeking comment Thursday. CSC also is one of the security firms being sued over the deadly Astroworld festival in Houston that left 10 people dead.

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