https://www.lawenforcementtoday.com/dave-chappelles-alleged-attacker-charged-with-december-attempted-murder-of-roommate/

LOS ANGELES, CA – The man accused of attacking comedian Dave Chappelle on stage May 4 during a Los Angeles show is now facing a charge of attempted murder for allegedly stabbing his roommate five months prior.

Isaiah Lee, 23, was arrested late last week in connection with a violent fight that occurred with his roommate at a transitional housing facility on Dec. 2, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Lee pleaded not guilty to one count of attempted murder May 19 and is scheduled to appear again before a judge June 2 at the Foltz Criminal Justice Center, prosecutors said. It is unknown if the weapon used in that incident is the same one police said they found on Lee at the time of his alleged attack on the comedian.

The DA’s office said the victim identified Lee as his attacker after the media attention following Lee’s onstage confrontation with Chappelle at the Hollywood Bowl at the beginning of the month.

District Attorney George Gascón, who had refused to file felony charges in the Chappelle attack, said in a statement:

“The publicity generated by the attack on Mr. Chappelle helped police solve this crime. The incident that occurred at the Hollywood Bowl was misdemeanor conduct and rightfully referred to the City Attorney’s Office. Based on the nature and severity of the December attack, Mr. Lee is now facing felony charges which my office will prosecute.”

Police said that Lee charged the amphitheater stage and tackled Chappelle as the 48-year-old comic performed a set at Netflix Is a Joke: The Festival.

Lee was armed with a fake gun with a real knife attached to it, authorities said.

Video of the incident shows a man slam Chappelle to the ground and the attacker getting tackled by security seconds later.

In the scuffle, Lee’s arm was broken and he was first taken to the hospital before being jailed. The next day, the Los Angeles man was charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon.

Gascón, however, downgraded the charges to four misdemeanors: 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. Lee pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Lee appeared in a Los Angeles County courtroom May 10, where a judge rejected his public defender’s request to have him released on his own recognizance. The judge left his bail at $30,000.

Los Angeles City Deputy Attorney Giselle Fernandez said during the hearing that Lee has had several run-ins with the law in California and New York. An incident in San Bernardino was reduced from a battery charge to a charge of disturbing the peace.

Fernandez said Lee was also arrested for assault with a deadly weapon in 2018 and felony larceny in New York in 2015.

Chappelle said he spoke to Lee backstage before he was taken away, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The comic told the crowd at a surprise comedy show two nights later that Lee had ranted about his grandmother being forced out of her Brooklyn home due to gentrification.

He said Lee believed the attack would bring more attention to his grandmother’s situation. Chappelle added that he thought Lee appeared to be mentally ill.

His attorney said Lee was receiving mental health services while in custody.

Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hatami, who supports a recall effort against Gascón, was critical of the DA’s comments to Fox News Digital. Hatami said:

“George Gascon’s policies are irresponsible and reckless and promote lawlessness. They are dangerous to the general public. George said this perpetrator didn’t intend to hurt Chappelle. He said the attack on Chappelle was misdemeanor conduct. Now we find out that months earlier this same person attempted to kill someone with a knife.

“Clearly, George lacks real-life prosecutorial experience. He also cares more about press conferences than facts, the law and actual victims. And he clearly isn’t able to admit when he was wrong. However, I am thankful that LAPD worked so diligently to protect the public when the elected DA failed to do so, and I’m grateful that the victim in the new case will receive justice.”

No joke: LA’s hard-left DA George Gascòn says felony charge for Chappelle attacker ‘unethical’

May 7, 2022

LOS ANGELES, CA – Hey Dave Chappelle, have you heard this joke? “A liberal is a conservative who hasn’t been mugged yet.”

Or this one: Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascòn says it would be unethical to charge your armed attacker with a felony.

What happened to the comedian onstage Tuesday night at the Hollywood Bowl — an armed man leapt from the audience, ran across the stage and attacked Chappelle — wasn’t funny and it really isn’t a joke that the hard-left, George Soros-backed Gascòn is refusing to charge Isaiah Lee, 23, with nothing more than four misdemeanors.

In fact, Chappelle is upset that the man who attacked him while holding a weapon won’t face a single felony charge, his lawyer told The New York Post on Friday. The comic’s attorney, Gabriel Colwell said:

“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 but DA Gascón should also do his job and charge this as a felony.”


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Colwell called on the DA to reconsider the charges, shortly after Lee pleaded not guilty to four misdemeanor counts over the attack on the comedian during his segment for a comedy festival called Netflix is a Joke: The Festival. Colwell explained:

“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.”

He added:

“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.”

Dave Chappelle’s alleged attacker charged with December attempted murder of roommate
Isaiah Lee, 23, taken to hospital after attack. YouTube screenshot courtesy Comedy Hype.
Dave Chappelle’s alleged attacker charged with December attempted murder of roommate
Isaiah Lee taken into custody. YouTube screenshot courtesy Comedy Hype.
Dave Chappelle’s alleged attacker charged with December attempted murder of roommate
Isaiah Lee is an aspiring rapper. YouTube screenshot courtesy Comedy Hype.

Gascón’s office insisted Friday that they wouldn’t have been able to prosecute Lee on a felony charge because video of the attack didn’t show him brandishing the knife at Chappelle, according to The Post.

Greg Risling, a spokesman with the LA County DA’s Office, issued a statement:

“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.”

The aspiring rapper allegedly knocked the famous comic to the ground before security was able to pull him away. Lee was taken to the hospital and treated for injuries he sustained during the incident before being booked into jail on $30,000 bail.

Chappelle said he spoke to Lee backstage after the attack and he gave a surprising reason for why he did it, according to The Post.

While performing at a secret comedy show in Los Angeles on Thursday night, Chappelle said that he convinced security to let him approach the attacker before he was hauled away by cops. He told the audience:

“I needed to talk to him.”

Chappelle said he asked Lee why he did it and the accused attacker gave a rambling story about his grandmother being forced out her Brooklyn neighborhood as a result of gentrification. Lee thought the onstage attack would shed light on her situation, Chappelle said.

The comedian said Lee appeared to be mentally ill, a supposition that was confirmed by Lee’s older brother, Aaron Lee. The brother gave an interview to Rolling Stone on Wednesday in which he said Lee struggles with mental illness and takes medication.

He said Lee, a Brooklyn native, has been in and out of Los Angeles homeless shelters for the past decade.

Aaron Lee said his brother does not have anything against Chappelle but then said his brother has transgender friends and Chappelle’s recent trans jokes could have prompted Lee to attack him. He said:

“Yeah, it could have definitely been a factor, but I really don’t know.”

Gascón’s decision not to file felony charges against Lee has earned a lot of criticism, including from some within the DA’s office who support a recall movement against the top prosecutor. Deputy District Attorney Jon Hatami went on record with his disapproval. 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.”

Dave Chappelle’s alleged attacker charged with December attempted murder of roommate
Police photos of replica gun with folding knife blade. YouTube screenshot courtesy Today show.

The DA’s office initially had the case after Lee was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon but then referred it to the LA City Attorney’s Office on Thursday, saying the high-profile incident did not warrant felony charges, The Post reported.

The DA’s office said:

“After reviewing the evidence, prosecutors determined that while criminal conduct occurred, the evidence as presented did not constitute felony conduct.”

A few hours later, LA City Attorney Mike Feuer charged Lee with four misdemeanor counts: 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.

Chappelle’s attorney said he thinks the maximum penalty for the four misdemeanors is a year and half in jail and a $4,000 fine.

At Lee’s hearing, public defender Chelsea Padilla said the 23-year-old was a good candidate for “rapid diversion.” The program allows defendants to avoid serving jail time if they complete treatment or some form of educational class. Padilla told Judge Wendy Segall that Lee is currently receiving mental-health services.

Colwell disagreed with the rapid diversion option, saying that Lee was in “possession of a deadly weapon.”

Wearing a blue jail uniform, with his right arm in a sling, Lee stood before Judge Segall in court Friday. Lee’s bail remained at $30,000, which will be reviewed again at a hearing May 10. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for May 20. The judge said that should he make bail, he must stay at least 100 yards away from, and have no contact with, Chappelle.
Carla Sims, Chappelle’s representative, released a statement Wednesday that said:
“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.”
Sims said Chappelle, 48, is “fully cooperating” with the police investigation.
Officer Lizeth Lomeli, a spokesperson for the LAPD, on Wednesday described the incident:
“(Chappelle) had finished his act and as he was exiting the stage, a male who was part of the audience jumped on the stage and tackle(d) this celebrity to the ground.”
Chappelle’s security team jumped into action, restraining the attacker and pummeling him at the back of the stage. Lee was seen after the incident being loaded into an ambulance for a trip to the hospital with his face bloody and swollen and his right arm possibly broken.
Police described the weapon taken from the suspect as a replica handgun with a knife blade.
The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, which owns the Hollywood Bowl, released a statement that said it is adding “additional security measures” and reviewing existing procedures.
“We are reviewing our existing procedures both internally and with the assistance of outside experts so we can continue to provide a safe and secure environment at the Hollywood Bowl. We have implemented additional security measures, including an increased number of security personnel on-site to assist with bag checks and other security procedures.”

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