No Felony Charges in Dave Chappelle Hollywood Bowl Attack

The L.A. D.A. has declined to file felony charges against the audience member who attacked Dave Chappelle onstage at the Hollywood Bowl
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The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has declined to file felony charges against the unruly audience member who attacked comedian Dave Chappelle onstage while he was performing at the Hollywood Bowl.

Isaiah Lee, 23, who was allegedly carrying a replica handgun with a built-in folding knife, was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon on Tuesday after he rushed the amphitheater stage and tackled Chappelle to the ground. He is being held on $30,000 bail.

“After reviewing the evidence, prosecutors determined that while criminal conduct occurred, the evidence as presented did not constitute felony conduct,” a spokesperson for the office said in a statement. The D.A. does not prosecute misdemeanor crimes within the city of Los Angeles.

Sources told the Los Angeles Times that one of the reasons Lee’s case did not rise to a felony charge was because he did not brandish the weapon when he attacked Chappelle. Lee was allegedly carrying the weapon inside a bag.

The attack happened about 10:40 p.m. when Chappelle was performing at the Hollywood Bowl as part of the “Netflix Is A Joke” comedy festival. Video footage shows Lee, who was standing in the audience, rushing onto the stage then knocking Chappelle to the ground before trying to flee. Within a moment, a crowd surrounded the man.

Chappelle, who was not injured in the assault, immediately joked that he was grateful the attacker was “clumsy,” laughing that, “He’s back there getting stomped.”

Security apprehended Lee, who was treated for superficial wounds and a badly injured arm, and eventually handed him over to the LAPD.

A day after the onstage sacking, Chappelle’s spokeswoman, Carla Sims, said the comic is fully cooperating with the active police investigation and that he wasn’t allowing the incident to eclipse his historic run at the iconic venue.

“The performances by Chappelle at the Hollywood Bowl were epic and record-breaking and he refuses to allow last night’s incident to overshadow the magic of this historic moment,” Sims said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.

Sims added that Chappelle celebrated four nights of comedy and music, and set record-breaking sales for a comedian at the Hollywood Bowl, a run that ties him with “Monty Python for the most-headlined shows by any comedian at the Hollywood Bowl.” Chappelle reached 70,000 fans during the festival, she said.

“As unfortunate and unsettling as the incident was, Chappelle went on with the show,” Sims continued. “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, who performed music from their new album—the first in nearly 24 years.”

According to audio obtained by TMZ, Chappelle celebrated the fact that his friends—including Foxx, Busta Rhymes, and Jon Stewart—came to his aid after the assault.

“I felt good my friends broke his arm,” Chappelle laughed during an after party at the Pendry Hotel in West Hollywood. “I felt good. How bad does a n— have to be that Jon Stewart would stomp him?”

Investigators are still trying to determine how Lee made it past several layers of security at the Hollywood Bowl and managed to get onstage to attack the comedian. LAPD sources told the Times that detectives are reviewing videos to better understand what occurred.

The Bowl, which is owned and operated jointly by the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, uses metal detectors to screen patrons.

“The safety of our artists, visitors and staff is the L.A. Phil’s top priority,” Sophie Jefferies, the Philharmonic’s director of public relations, said in a statement Wednesday, according to the Times. “The incident… remains an active investigation, and we are unable to comment further at this time.”


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