Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon is defending his decision not to file felony charges against the mentally ill homeless man who attacked comedian Dave Chappell on stage last week.
Mr Gascon told reporters on Tuesday about 23-year-old Isaiah LeeNetflix It’s a joke festival at the Hollywood Bowl.
“Mr. Lee was not armed when he punched Mr. Chappell, as we can see from the video,” prosecutors said. “And we also know from interviews with witnesses that the two were quickly separated by security and that Mr Chappell was not injured.”
Prosecutors said he agreed to the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles City Attorney to bring misdemeanor charges in the case. He added that the folding knife found on Mr Lee’s body had been “folded” by security guards throughout the incident.
While Mr. Lee “needs to be held accountable for his actions,” Mr. Gascon said the attack “does not constitute, and I repeat, a felony under California law.”
Mr. Chappelle’s lawyer, Gabriel Colwell, said Friday that the 48-year-old comedian believes that Mr. Gascón’s failure to bring felony charges is “a mockery of justice”.
“Artists in Los Angeles need to know that this is a justice system that protects them,” Mr. Colwell said in a statement. “There is no doubt that a felony should be charged when a person is violently assaulted by another with a deadly weapon.”
On Tuesday, a judge rejected Mr Lee’s request to reduce his bail. He is being held in jail on $30,000 bail.