Dave Chappelle and the Death of Free Speech

 

With apologies for my prolonged absence from Ricochet, I wanted to call the members’ attention to my most recent contribution at The Pipeline, in which I address the Dave Chappelle incident at the Hollywood Bowl and the death of free speech. An excerpt:

In comedy’s long history, practitioners of the trade have been cloaked with what was once known as the “jester’s privilege,” a certain license that protected them from consequences when they made an observation that, from another’s lips, would have been viewed as transgressive. As should now be obvious to all, the jester’s privilege is dead.

I also address the issue of the appropriate charges against Chappelle’s alleged attacker, Isaiah Lee. There has been much criticism of Los Angeles County district attorney George Gascón for his refusal to file felony charges against Lee, and loath as I am to defend Gascón, in this case he is an example of the proverbial stopped clock. Under California law, the attack did not amount to a felony.

If anyone has further questions about the charges against Lee, I’ll be happy to engage in the comments.

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  1. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    What a pleasure to read your contribution to the Pipeline.

    Chappelle is a national treasure. 

    As much as I admire his having his pulse on the major issues of the day, I often reflect that without his dark skin, he may well have been chastised out of existence, as was Roseanne Barr over one single tweet.

    So I feel it is not only his excellence as major wit and philosopher, but his working in the field of humorous endeavor in our society protects him as an outlier. This Super Ability allows him  to go where no white comic has gone before.

    • #1
  2. Kevin601 Coolidge
    Kevin601
    @Kevin601

    I understand that while Lee had a weapon on him, it was not drawn when he attacked Chapelle, hence no felony.   But he did draw his weapon on the venue security when they intervened.   Why was no felony charged then?   While our eyes are naturally drawn to the celebrity, we forget that others were involved as well.   Any of the brave security guards could have been injury or killed by Lee.  Who speaks for them?

    • #2
  3. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Kevin601 (View Comment):

    I understand that while Lee had a weapon on him, it was not drawn when he attacked Chapelle, hence no felony. But he did draw his weapon on the venue security when they intervened. Why was no felony charged then? While our eyes are naturally drawn to the celebrity, we forget that others were involved as well. Any of the brave security guards could have been injury or killed by Lee. Who speaks for them?

    Did they decline to press charges, mayhap to avoid negative publicity for the venue of which they were employees?

    • #3
  4. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Kevin601 (View Comment):
    I understand that while Lee had a weapon on him, it was not drawn when he attacked Chapelle, hence no felony.

    Since when is physical assault not a felony?  I haven’t seen any video of the incident, so I may be missing something . . .

    • #4
  5. Nick Plosser Coolidge
    Nick Plosser
    @NickP

    @jackdunphy-Great Pipeline piece and good to see you back here! Always look forward to your articles on PJM and insights about the decline of basic standards in our shared hometown. 

    • #5
  6. Jack Dunphy Contributor
    Jack Dunphy
    @JackDunphy

    Kevin601 (View Comment):

    I understand that while Lee had a weapon on him, it was not drawn when he attacked Chapelle, hence no felony. But he did draw his weapon on the venue security when they intervened. Why was no felony charged then? While our eyes are naturally drawn to the celebrity, we forget that others were involved as well. Any of the brave security guards could have been injury or killed by Lee. Who speaks for them?

    It was my understanding that the weapon was found in his bag.  Where did you learn he had brandished it?

    • #6
  7. Jack Dunphy Contributor
    Jack Dunphy
    @JackDunphy

    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill (View Comment):

    What a pleasure to read your contribution to the Pipeline.

    Chappelle is a national treasure.

    As much as I admire his having his pulse on the major issues of the day, I often reflect that without his dark skin, he may well have been chastised out of existence, as was Roseanne Barr over one single tweet.

    So I feel it is not only his excellence as major wit and philosopher, but his working in the field of humorous endeavor in our society protects him as an outlier. This Super Ability allows him to go where no white comic has gone before.

    To whatever extend Chappelle is still cloaked with the “jester’s privilege,” it is no doubt enhanced by his race.  That’s where we are, I’m afraid.

    • #7
  8. Jack Dunphy Contributor
    Jack Dunphy
    @JackDunphy

    Stad (View Comment):

    Kevin601 (View Comment):
    I understand that while Lee had a weapon on him, it was not drawn when he attacked Chapelle, hence no felony.

    Since when is physical assault not a felony? I haven’t seen any video of the incident, so I may be missing something . . .

    To summarize the law very briefly, absent significant injury to the victim or use of a weapon, crimes of this type are charged as misdemeanors.

    • #8
  9. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    In Oregon we would call this a Class A Misdemeanor-Offensive Physical Contact. If an injury resulted from the contact, you would start moving up the Assault ladder. Offensive Physical Contact can be a trip to booking and the DA can prosecute a Misdemeanor. Much of that would depend upon the subject’s criminal history. Court calendars tend to be rather full so decisions by a DA can be made not to prosecute this type of crime.

    As far as the faux gun that hides a knife there are off the book’s ways to prevent a suspect from keeping that item regardless of the lack of a prosecution. Once it gets into the property room you can make it extremely difficult or impossible for a suspect to retrieve that item.

    A police officer should fill-out an Incident and Custody Report, but the decision to prosecute is the province of the DA’s office.

    • #9
  10. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    By the way Jack it’s nice to see you here again.

    • #10
  11. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Jack Dunphy (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    Kevin601 (View Comment):
    I understand that while Lee had a weapon on him, it was not drawn when he attacked Chapelle, hence no felony.

    Since when is physical assault not a felony? I haven’t seen any video of the incident, so I may be missing something . . .

    To summarize the law very briefly, absent significant injury to the victim or use of a weapon, crimes of this type are charged as misdemeanors.

    That is a stupid law.

    • #11
  12. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Personally I’m a proponent of equal sentencing and criminality for any attempted crime that would be based on the crime itself. Thus if you assault somebody we should assume that your intent is murder and you should be held that way.  This was a premeditated assault with clear intent to do significant significant bodily damage if not murder. 

    • #12
  13. Jack Dunphy Contributor
    Jack Dunphy
    @JackDunphy

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    By the way Jack it’s nice to see you here again.

    Thank you!  Good to be back.

    • #13
  14. Kevin601 Coolidge
    Kevin601
    @Kevin601

    Jack Dunphy (View Comment):

    Kevin601 (View Comment):

    I understand that while Lee had a weapon on him, it was not drawn when he attacked Chapelle, hence no felony. But he did draw his weapon on the venue security when they intervened. Why was no felony charged then? While our eyes are naturally drawn to the celebrity, we forget that others were involved as well. Any of the brave security guards could have been injury or killed by Lee. Who speaks for them?

    It was my understanding that the weapon was found in his bag. Where did you learn he had brandished it?

    New York Post article by Guy Shepherd, dated May 12.  Article states Lee went for his weapon when confronted by security resulting in broken arm.

     

    • #14
  15. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Jack Dunphy (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    Kevin601 (View Comment):
    I understand that while Lee had a weapon on him, it was not drawn when he attacked Chapelle, hence no felony.

    Since when is physical assault not a felony? I haven’t seen any video of the incident, so I may be missing something . . .

    To summarize the law very briefly, absent significant injury to the victim or use of a weapon, crimes of this type are charged as misdemeanors.

    That is a stupid law.

    We have lots of those. 

    • #15
  16. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Jack Dunphy (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    Kevin601 (View Comment):
    I understand that while Lee had a weapon on him, it was not drawn when he attacked Chapelle, hence no felony.

    Since when is physical assault not a felony? I haven’t seen any video of the incident, so I may be missing something . . .

    To summarize the law very briefly, absent significant injury to the victim or use of a weapon, crimes of this type are charged as misdemeanors.

    I’ve always heard the mere act of touching someone was assault and battery.  It didn’t matter how severe the injury was.  But, I’m not a cop, so . . .

    • #16
  17. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Kevin601 (View Comment):

    Jack Dunphy (View Comment):

    Kevin601 (View Comment):

    I understand that while Lee had a weapon on him, it was not drawn when he attacked Chapelle, hence no felony. But he did draw his weapon on the venue security when they intervened. Why was no felony charged then? While our eyes are naturally drawn to the celebrity, we forget that others were involved as well. Any of the brave security guards could have been injury or killed by Lee. Who speaks for them?

    It was my understanding that the weapon was found in his bag. Where did you learn he had brandished it?

    New York Post article by Guy Shepherd, dated May 12. Article states Lee went for his weapon when confronted by security resulting in broken arm.

    Found it. Here is the key passage:

    The reasoning Gascón’s office provided is tortured and reflects the habit of mind currently torturing Los Angelenos: Chappelle was not hurt; while Lee stormed the stage and tackled Chappelle, he didn’t brandish the weapon. Under such circumstances — caught on tape — Gascón’s office could not “ethically” charge Lee with a felony, though Lee consciously evaded security and brought a lethal weapon to a public event. And while he did not pull the weapon on Chappelle, he did go for it in the ensuing melee with security, which might explain the assailant’s broken arm.

    • #17
  18. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    In Illinois, simple assault and battery is hitting somebody. That is a misdemeanor. You don’t graduate to a felony unless you use a deadly weapon or do more damage than just scrapes and bruises.

    • #18
  19. Kevin601 Coolidge
    Kevin601
    @Kevin601

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    Kevin601 (View Comment):

    Jack Dunphy (View Comment):

    Kevin601 (View Comment):

    I understand that while Lee had a weapon on him, it was not drawn when he attacked Chapelle, hence no felony. But he did draw his weapon on the venue security when they intervened. Why was no felony charged then? While our eyes are naturally drawn to the celebrity, we forget that others were involved as well. Any of the brave security guards could have been injury or killed by Lee. Who speaks for them?

    It was my understanding that the weapon was found in his bag. Where did you learn he had brandished it?

    New York Post article by Guy Shepherd, dated May 12. Article states Lee went for his weapon when confronted by security resulting in broken arm.

    Found it. Here is the key passage:

    The reasoning Gascón’s office provided is tortured and reflects the habit of mind currently torturing Los Angelenos: Chappelle was not hurt; while Lee stormed the stage and tackled Chappelle, he didn’t brandish the weapon. Under such circumstances — caught on tape — Gascón’s office could not “ethically” charge Lee with a felony, though Lee consciously evaded security and brought a lethal weapon to a public event. And while he did not pull the weapon on Chappelle, he did go for it in the ensuing melee with security, which might explain the assailant’s broken arm.

    Thanks Paul. This is my first post to anything, ever. I wasn’t sure how to link the article. I’m working on it.  Also, hat-tip to Real Clear Politics. That’s where I found the article.

    • #19
  20. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Personally I’m a proponent of equal sentencing and criminality for any attempted crime that would be based on the crime itself. Thus if you assault somebody we should assume that your intent is murder and you should be held that way. This was a premeditated assault with clear intent to do significant significant bodily damage if not murder.

    Except that plenty of assaults clearly do not include an intent to murder or cause grievous bodily harm. Our problem today is not that there is something wrong with the traditional understanding of misdemeanor vs. felonious assault. Rather, our problem is that leftists have corrupted the institutions of society so that vicious criminals are released to prey again and again, while intellectuals praise them as innocent victims of society.

    • #20
  21. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Personally I’m a proponent of equal sentencing and criminality for any attempted crime that would be based on the crime itself. Thus if you assault somebody we should assume that your intent is murder and you should be held that way. This was a premeditated assault with clear intent to do significant significant bodily damage if not murder.

    Except that plenty of assaults clearly do not include an intent to murder or cause grievous bodily harm. Our problem today is not that there is something wrong with the traditional understanding of misdemeanor vs. felonious assault. Rather, our problem is that leftists have corrupted the institutions of society so that vicious criminals are released to prey again and again, while intellectuals praise them as innocent victims of society.

    This assault was clearly intended to cause damange.

    The man should be locked away forever. He never needs to be out again. Every one knows you should not act this way my kids at 12 knew this. The man is not fit for society and he should be in a cell with other of his ilk until he dies.

    • #21
  22. Jack Dunphy Contributor
    Jack Dunphy
    @JackDunphy

    Stad (View Comment):
    I’ve always heard the mere act of touching someone was assault and battery.  It didn’t matter how severe the injury was.  But, I’m not a cop, so . . .

    Any unwanted touching can be considered a battery, but obviously there are degrees of unlawfulness.

    • #22
  23. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    Thus if you assault somebody we should assume that your intent is murder and you should be held that way.

    Good heavens. Drunken bar scuffle with a few glancing blows and broken glassware? Attempted murder! Callously shoving someone out of the way in a crowd? Attempted murder! Angry wife throwing a grapefruit at her lazy husband during an argument? Attempted murder!

    • #23
  24. Jack Dunphy Contributor
    Jack Dunphy
    @JackDunphy

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    Kevin601 (View Comment):

    Jack Dunphy (View Comment):

    Kevin601 (View Comment):

    I understand that while Lee had a weapon on him, it was not drawn when he attacked Chapelle, hence no felony. But he did draw his weapon on the venue security when they intervened. Why was no felony charged then? While our eyes are naturally drawn to the celebrity, we forget that others were involved as well. Any of the brave security guards could have been injury or killed by Lee. Who speaks for them?

    It was my understanding that the weapon was found in his bag. Where did you learn he had brandished it?

    New York Post article by Guy Shepherd, dated May 12. Article states Lee went for his weapon when confronted by security resulting in broken arm.

    Found it. Here is the key passage:

    The reasoning Gascón’s office provided is tortured and reflects the habit of mind currently torturing Los Angelenos: Chappelle was not hurt; while Lee stormed the stage and tackled Chappelle, he didn’t brandish the weapon. Under such circumstances — caught on tape — Gascón’s office could not “ethically” charge Lee with a felony, though Lee consciously evaded security and brought a lethal weapon to a public event. And while he did not pull the weapon on Chappelle, he did go for it in the ensuing melee with security, which might explain the assailant’s broken arm.

    There’s a fine line to be drawn here.  I don’t know what is meant by “he did go for it.” He may have reached into the bag but was prevented from removing the weapon.  Absent a clear use or brandishing of the weapon, the misdemeanor charges are appropriate.

    • #24
  25. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    Thus if you assault somebody we should assume that your intent is murder and you should be held that way.

    Good heavens. Drunken bar scuffle with a few glancing blows and broken glassware? Attempted murder! Callously shoving someone out of the way in a crowd? Attempted murder! Angry wife throwing a grapefruit at her lazy husband during an argument? Attempted murder!

    Reducto ad absurdum. Nice.

    It is clear what I mean. 

    • #25
  26. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Jack Dunphy (View Comment):

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    Kevin601 (View Comment):

    Jack Dunphy (View Comment):

    Kevin601 (View Comment):

    I understand that while Lee had a weapon on him, it was not drawn when he attacked Chapelle, hence no felony. But he did draw his weapon on the venue security when they intervened. Why was no felony charged then? While our eyes are naturally drawn to the celebrity, we forget that others were involved as well. Any of the brave security guards could have been injury or killed by Lee. Who speaks for them?

    It was my understanding that the weapon was found in his bag. Where did you learn he had brandished it?

    New York Post article by Guy Shepherd, dated May 12. Article states Lee went for his weapon when confronted by security resulting in broken arm.

    Found it. Here is the key passage:

    The reasoning Gascón’s office provided is tortured and reflects the habit of mind currently torturing Los Angelenos: Chappelle was not hurt; while Lee stormed the stage and tackled Chappelle, he didn’t brandish the weapon. Under such circumstances — caught on tape — Gascón’s office could not “ethically” charge Lee with a felony, though Lee consciously evaded security and brought a lethal weapon to a public event. And while he did not pull the weapon on Chappelle, he did go for it in the ensuing melee with security, which might explain the assailant’s broken arm.

    There’s a fine line to be drawn here. I don’t know what is meant by “he did go for it.” He may have reached into the bag but was prevented from removing the weapon. Absent a clear use or brandishing of the weapon, the misdemeanor charges are appropriate.

    Nor do we know if he “did go for it” in any sense of the word. (Given that news reporting is sometimes wrong and I haven’t bothered to follow this case.)

    • #26
  27. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Jack Dunphy (View Comment):

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    Kevin601 (View Comment):

    Jack Dunphy (View Comment):

    Kevin601 (View Comment):

    I understand that while Lee had a weapon on him, it was not drawn when he attacked Chapelle, hence no felony. But he did draw his weapon on the venue security when they intervened. Why was no felony charged then? While our eyes are naturally drawn to the celebrity, we forget that others were involved as well. Any of the brave security guards could have been injury or killed by Lee. Who speaks for them?

    It was my understanding that the weapon was found in his bag. Where did you learn he had brandished it?

    New York Post article by Guy Shepherd, dated May 12. Article states Lee went for his weapon when confronted by security resulting in broken arm.

    Found it. Here is the key passage:

    The reasoning Gascón’s office provided is tortured and reflects the habit of mind currently torturing Los Angelenos: Chappelle was not hurt; while Lee stormed the stage and tackled Chappelle, he didn’t brandish the weapon. Under such circumstances — caught on tape — Gascón’s office could not “ethically” charge Lee with a felony, though Lee consciously evaded security and brought a lethal weapon to a public event. And while he did not pull the weapon on Chappelle, he did go for it in the ensuing melee with security, which might explain the assailant’s broken arm.

    There’s a fine line to be drawn here. I don’t know what is meant by “he did go for it.” He may have reached into the bag but was prevented from removing the weapon. Absent a clear use or brandishing of the weapon, the misdemeanor charges are appropriate.

    Legally maybe buy not morally. 

     

    • #27
  28. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Personally I’m a proponent of equal sentencing and criminality for any attempted crime that would be based on the crime itself. Thus if you assault somebody we should assume that your intent is murder and you should be held that way. This was a premeditated assault with clear intent to do significant significant bodily damage if not murder.

    Except that plenty of assaults clearly do not include an intent to murder or cause grievous bodily harm. Our problem today is not that there is something wrong with the traditional understanding of misdemeanor vs. felonious assault. Rather, our problem is that leftists have corrupted the institutions of society so that vicious criminals are released to prey again and again, while intellectuals praise them as innocent victims of society.

    This assault was clearly intended to cause damange.

    The man should be locked away forever. He never needs to be out again. Every one knows you should not act this way my kids at 12 knew this. The man is not fit for society and he should be in a cell with other of his ilk until he dies.

    But you wrote “if you assault somebody we should assume that your intent is murder“, which is what I was responding to. Such an assumption would be inappropriate.

    • #28
  29. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Jack Dunphy (View Comment):
    There’s a fine line to be drawn here.  I don’t know what is meant by “he did go for it.” He may have reached into the bag but was prevented from removing the weapon.  Absent a clear use or brandishing of the weapon, the misdemeanor charges are appropriate.

    Which returns us to the vital importance of getting the facts right–the facts of the case, the facts of the law, etc. I’ve seen too much social media where the only thing that matters is the desired outcome and anyone who sticks to the facts gets pilloried.

    • #29
  30. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    Thus if you assault somebody we should assume that your intent is murder and you should be held that way.

    Good heavens. Drunken bar scuffle with a few glancing blows and broken glassware? Attempted murder! Callously shoving someone out of the way in a crowd? Attempted murder! Angry wife throwing a grapefruit at her lazy husband during an argument? Attempted murder!

    Reducto ad absurdum. Nice.

    It is clear what I mean.

    Not really. You and I have talked about this before. I said that perhaps life imprisonment was too harsh for the loser stealing change out of unlocked cars and you said that I was soft on crime. 

    • #30
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