Steve May 5, 2022
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LOS ANGELES — A man accused of attacking comedian Dave Chappelle onstage at the Hollywood Bowl this week was charged Thursday with four misdemeanor counts, the city attorney said.

The misdemeanor counts were filed after the Los Angeles County district attorney declined to charge Isaiah Lee, 23, with a felony in Tuesday’s attack.

“After reviewing the evidence, prosecutors determined that while criminal conduct occurred, the evidence as presented did not constitute felony conduct,” said Greg Risling, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office. The office referred the case to the city attorney for misdemeanor consideration, he said.

Police arrested Lee on suspicion of felony assault with a deadly weapon, accusing him of jumping onstage and tackling Chappelle around 10:40 p.m. Tuesday.

Police said Lee had a replica handgun with a knife blade. Its size was not clear.

Sources familiar with the matter said Lee did not produce the weapon during the incident or point it at Chappelle, which they said factored into the decision not to charge him with felony assault with a deadly weapon.

Lee was charged Thursday with misdemeanor counts of 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 the event or interferes with the performer.

“This alleged attack has got to have consequences,” City Attorney Mike Feuer said in a video statement late Thursday afternoon.

The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office prosecutes felony counts. The city attorney prosecutes misdemeanor cases.

If he is convicted on the misdemeanor counts, Lee faces up to 1½ years in jail and a $4,000 fine, a spokesman for the city attorney’s office said.

Authorities have not released a possible motive in the incident. Chappelle was not injured.

The Hollywood Bowl, an amphitheater in the Hollywood Hills, is one of the most recognizable venues in Los Angeles.

Chappelle was there for the fourth night of the “Dave Chappelle and Friends” show, which was part of the Netflix Is A Joke Festival.

He was introducing a musical act when he was tackled in front of shocked fans. After the incident, he continued with the show, which was near its end.

The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, which runs the Hollywood Bowl, said it is reviewing security procedures “both internally and with the assistance of outside experts.”

“We have implemented additional security measures, including an increased number of security personnel on-site to assist with bag checks and other security procedures,” said the organization, commonly known as the L.A. Phil.

A spokesperson for Netflix said, “Security is handled by venues, and we’re actively discussing the security protocols for future events.”

Lee was being held in jail Thursday in lieu of $30,000 bail, which police set after they arrested him on suspicion of the felony, the jail said. It was not clear whether he had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

A representative for Chappelle did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday evening after the misdemeanor charges were announced.

A spokesman for Chappelle has previously said he was cooperating fully with investigators.

Phil Helsel is a reporter for NBC News.

Andrew Blankstein is an investigative reporter for NBC News. He covers the Western United States, specializing in crime, courts and homeland security. 

Diana Dasrath is entertainment producer and senior reporter for NBC News covering all platforms.

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