Suspect in Chappelle faces misdemeanors, not felony; Pleads not guilty

by mcardinal

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News


The man accused of rushing the stage and shoulder tackling comedian Dave Chappelle during a live Netflix comedy festival faces substantially less daunting charges, but has nonetheless pleaded not guilty.

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced on Twitter Thursday that his office was pursuing four misdemeanors against Isaiah Lee, the 23-year-old who was arrested Tuesday night after interrupting Chappelle’s set at the Hollywood Bowl.

“This alleged attack has got to have consequences,” Feuer said in a video posted to Twitter.

Feuer said the charges filed were for battery, possession of a weapon with intent to assault, unauthorized access to the stage area during a performance, and commission of an act that delays an event or interferes with a performer.

Friday in Los Angeles, Lee pleaded not guilty to all four charges and was ordered by a judge to stay at least 100 yards away from Chappelle if the accused is released on bond.

The quartet of misdemeanors was not quite the filing many expected. A misdemeanor offense in Los Angeles can carry a jail sentence of up to one year, but this not a common sentence.

Lee had initially been booked on felony assault charges; however, lawyers in the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office felt felony charges were not warranted.

“After reviewing the evidence, prosecutors determined that while criminal conduct occurred, the evidence as presented did not constitute felony conduct,” a spokesperson for the DA’s office told The Hollywood Reporter, which was first to report on the modified charges. “The District Attorney’s Office does not prosecute misdemeanor crimes within the city of Los Angeles.”

With the charges downgraded, the case was referred to Feuer’s office, where the city attorney promised to act with severity against Lee.

“My office takes protecting public safety extremely seriously, and we are going to vigorously prosecute this case,” Feuer tweeted Thursday.

Chappelle’s alleged attack occurred on the last night of the “Netflix is a Joke” comedy festival. Police at the time said Lee was found in possession of a knife made to look like a replica pistol.

It is still not known what sparked Lee to jump onto the stage.