Dave Chappelle was assaulted in Los Angeles by a member of the audience at one of his shows. The District Attorney in Los Angeles is George Gascon, who has been making the news lately for his office’s charging and bail decisions. The Chappelle case will only add to the controversy surrounding Gascon because he refused to file any felony charges against the attacker. The Defendant was charged only with misdemeanors for his politically-motivated attack.
Chappelle was not happy with this decision. His attorney released a statement explaining the comedian’s displeasure with Gascon’s failure to act. Gascon responded to the statement by giving more information on the charging decision.
He again reiterated that it was only misdemeanor conduct, given Chappelle was only tackled and the knife was not used in the attack. Even though Gascon seems to be able to defend his decision, the misdemeanor charging decision does little to deter future attacks.
Los Angeles County has been suffering a rise in crime, and part of this is Gascon’s soft-on-crime policies. The county’s police departments have been railing against the “zero bail” policies that have been enacted, resulting in people who are arrested for suspected crimes being put right back on the streets.
The explosion of homelessness in the region has not helped matters either. Los Angeles’ program to combat homelessness has been criticized as a “billion dollar failure.”
All these things taken together add to the perception that Gascon is soft on crime. This view encourages more crime and becomes a self-perpetuating cycle.
The assault on Dave Chappelle may seem like a small thing in the big picture, but it is a collection of how all the little things are handled that makes reality.