Dave Chappelle Assault Suspect Won't Be Prosecuted For Felony, Prosecutors Say
The man accused of storming the stage and tackling Dave Chappelle during a performance at the Hollywood Bowl on Tuesday night won’t be prosecuted for felony assault, despite the fact he was holding a replica gun concealing a knife blade, prosecutors said Thursday.
A spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney says the case will be forwarded to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office for “misdemeanor filing consideration” instead.
“After reviewing the evidence, prosecutors determined that while criminal conduct occurred, the evidence as presented did not constitute felony conduct,” DA spokesman Greg Risling said in a statement, declining to elaborate because the case “remains open and under investigation.”
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Isaiah Lee, 23, had been booked on suspicion of felony assault with a deadly weapon after he jumped onstage and assaulted Chappelle around 10:40 p.m. local time toward the end of the comedian’s performance at the Netflix Is a Joke festival, police say.
Lee’s older brother Aaron Lee, 31, told Rolling Stone in an exclusive interview Wednesday that his brother has struggled with mental health and housing instability since he moved to California from New York when he was around 11 years old.
“I don’t have anything negative to say about Isaiah. He’s a performing artist who tries to stay as positive as possible. He does have a history of mental health issues. He does take medicine. Maybe he missed out on taking his prescription. But he’s not the type to just lash out. I don’t understand,” Aaron Lee said.
Police said Isaiah Lee had “what appeared to be a handgun but was later discovered to be a replica, in his hand,” at the time of the alleged assault. The replica contained a knife blade, police said.
Replica handgun recovered fro the suspect.
After security and bystanders “took action and removed Lee” from the stage, he was detained, transported to a local hospital for medical treatment for injuries sustained during the altercation, and ultimately booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, LAPD said.
A spokesperson for Chappelle said the comedian was “fully cooperating” with the police investigation.
“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,” the spokesperson said.
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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