After the disastrous events of last year’s Astroworld, the murder of Drakeo the Ruler at the Banc of California Stadium last December and the recent attack on comedian Dave Chappelle, venue security has become a pressing issue for governing officials.
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón addressed the need for new security measures in a speech Tuesday and responded to Chappelle and his attorney’s request to reconsider the Hollywood Bowl attack as a felony, rather than a misdemeanor.
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After Isaiah Lee tackled Chappelle onstage during the comedian’s set at the Netflix Is a Joke festival last week, Chappelle’s attorney, Gabriel Colwell, told Rolling Stone: “We request that DA Gascón reconsider, correct this mistake and charge this as a felony.”
“Entertainers in Los Angeles need to know that the justice system will protect them on stage,” said Colwell.
Gascón, however, responded to Chappelle and his attorney in his address today underlining the fact that there have been “many miscommunications.”
He said: “We have city prosecutors that handle misdemeanors, they have the jurisdiction. Mr. Chappelle’s case was reviewed by one of our deputies in our filing team and she made the right decision when she determined that the conduct in this particular case was misdemeanor conduct.”
“[Mr. Lee’s] behavior under California law did not, and I repeat, did not amount to felony conduct,” he concluded. The conclusion was finalized under the conditions that Lee was not holding a weapon, Chappelle was not injured and the blade found on Lee was folded during the entirety of the attack.
Gascón also said prosecutors had checked to see if Lee had been stalking Chappelle, for which they found no evidence.
The L.A. Philharmonic, which operates the Hollywood Bowl, has since stated they are reviewing existing procedures and have begun implementing additional security measures, “including an increased number of security personnel on-site to assist with bag checks and other security procedures.”
It is unclear how the attacker was able to enter the venue armed with a knife but Chappelle noted that Lee had leaves in his hair during the attack, indicating he may have snuck in through the hillside.
Although no specifics about future protocols were mentioned, Gascón stated the county has “become increasingly concerned that we’ll have a similar situation to the one in Houston (Astroworld)” and said, “As one of the capitals of entertainment, we have to do better.”
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