The man that attacked comedian Dave Chappelle has been charged for assaulting the funnyman on stage during his show at the Hollywood Bowl on Tuesday, May 3rd.
However, according to Chappelle’s attorney, he will not be hit with a felonious count for bringing a weapon on the stage in the sneak attack.
Instead, Isaiah Lee, 23, pleaded not guilty to four misdemeanor charges. Lee was initially arrested for the felonious charge of assault with a deadly weapon.
A few hours later, his charges were lessened to a battery, possessing a deadly weapon with intent to assault, unauthorized access to the stage area during a performance, and commission of an act that delays the event or interferes with the performer.
According to the New York Post, Gabriel Colwell, Chappelle’s lawyer, “It’s a travesty of justice that DA [George] Gascòn is refusing to prosecute this case as a felony.”
“The City Attorney, who filed the case, is doing his job,” the attorney explained. “But DA Gascón should also do his job and charge this as a felony.”
Colwell continued, “This was a violent assault that was perpetrated on an unsuspecting entertainer while he was giving a show in front of thousands of people at the historic Hollywood Bowl. The idea that [Lee] had a deadly weapon on him — one that was a replica of a handgun that had a knife — that is a violent assault.”
Police released an image of the knife that Lee brought on stage. The body was shaped like a gun, but the top was a blade.
“Entertainers in LA need to know this is a justice system that will protect them. There is no question here that when someone is violently assaulted by another in possession of a deadly weapon that it should be charged as a felony.”
The District Attorney said they would not have been able to prosecute Lee on a felony charge because he did not swing or flash the knife at Chappelle during the attack. If they had, it would have been unethical.
The Los Angeles D.A.’s office statement said: “Our office also could not charge Mr. Lee with a felony of carrying a concealed weapon. Filing that charge would only be allowed if the blade is locked in an open position. It does not appear that Mr. Lee opened the knife at any time during this incident.”
“We evaluated the possibility of filing other charges as well but found the evidence did not meet the statutory criteria for any felony offense. All misdemeanor matters within the city of Los Angeles are referred to the City Attorney’s Office for filing consideration.
“It would be unethical to charge someone with a felony when the elements of the statute are not met.”
After the attack, Chappelle’s team stomped Lee out. Lee sustained injuries and was taken to the hospital. He was then placed in jail and released on $30,000 bail.
Deputy District Attorney Jon Hatami disagreed with his boss. He said, “Anyone who arms themselves with a deadly weapon, in this case, a knife, and violently attacks an innocent person, famous or not, should be charged accordingly.”
“With only a misdemeanor charge, the person could be released soon, with only a slap on the wrist. That fails to provide justice to the victim, accountability for this person’s actions, and safety to the general public. These concepts, however, like public safety and justice, that most of us value, are concepts George Gascón can care less about.”
This story is developing.