Gascón's Failure to Prosecute Chappelle’s Attacker Erodes Public Trust: Recall Spokesman

Gascón's Failure to Prosecute Chappelle’s Attacker Erodes Public Trust: Recall Spokesman
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon speaks at a press conference in Los Angeles on Dec. 8, 2021, and Dave Chappelle at an event in Hollywood, California, on April 28, 2022. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images; Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Netflix)
Jamie Joseph

LOS ANGELES—The committee seeking to recall Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón said May 6 that his failure to pursue felony charges against the man who attacked comedian Dave Chappelle on stage at the Hollywood Bowl May 3 continues to erode some people’s trust in the DA who was first elected in 2020.

“We’re continuing to see increased engagement as these stories come out every day,” Recall Gascón spokesperson Tim Lineberger told The Epoch Times. “This stuff has happened left and right, and all of it motivates people to get involved.”

Organizers filed a petition to recall Jan. 27 and now the group has until July 6 to collect 566,857 verifiable signatures from registered Los Angeles County voters to get the issue of recalling Gascón on the November 2022 ballot.

On May 5, the group announced they’ve raised over $6 million and have more than 400,000 signatures.

Lineberger said charging Isaiah Lee, 23, with a felony may have been difficult to prosecute, but the fact that he felt brazen enough to charge the stage at all, is indicative of the mood among some in Los Angeles these days.

“The attack itself was a pretty scary situation,” Lineberger said. “When you see something like that happen it speaks to the level of impunity that criminals feel that they have and what they can do in Los Angeles.”

Gascón’s office determined shortly after the incident that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to charge Lee with a felony.

“After reviewing the evidence, prosecutors determined that while criminal conduct occurred, the evidence as presented did not constitute felony conduct,” according to a statement from Gascón’s office.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, who is running for mayor, said in a video statement that his office is “going to vigorously prosecute this case.” Feuer said his office would be charging Lee with four misdemeanor counts including battery and possession of a weapon with an intent to assault.

The incident occurred just over a month after actor Will Smith walked on stage during the Academy Awards and slapped host Chris Rock for making a joke about his wife.

Lee was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and remains in jail on a $30,000 bail. If found guilty on all charges, he could face up to 18 months in county jail and up to $4,000 in fines, according to the City Attorney's Office.

Jamie is a California-based reporter covering issues in Los Angeles and state policies for The Epoch Times. In her free time, she enjoys reading nonfiction and thrillers, going to the beach, studying Christian theology, and writing poetry. You can always find Jamie writing breaking news with a cup of tea in hand.