As we previously reported, during his stand-up routine at the Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe back in March, Dave Chappelle was heckled by 31-year-old Christian Englander, a man accused of throwing a banana peel at him because he was upset that Dave cracked jokes about his male companion.
Englander, who is white, was charged with disturbing the peace and battery after the fruit throwing incident, both petty misdemeanors that each carried a jail sentence of up to six months and a possible fine of $500, but as Page Six reports, the case has been thrown out after Chappelle was unresponsive to requests for testimony.
Dave has always maintained that the incident was racially motivated, while Englander denied his allegations of racism, telling The Journal, “I thought the joker could take a joke.”
According to a notice of dismissal filed in Santa Fe Magistrate Court, Assistant District Attorney Anastasia Martin wrote that Chappelle’s testimony was necessary in order to convict Englander, and without it, a conviction was unlikely. Dave needed to testify in person because, as Martin said, the defendant has a right to confront his accuser.
Prosecutors have “made numerous attempts to contact the victim in this matter and the victim has been unresponsive to date,” the notice filed by Martin states. “The victim’s testimony is essential to the prosecution of this matter. Without such testimony, the State would be unlikely to prevail at trial.”
Martin said in an interview that “we basically tried to contact Mr. Chappelle numerous times using numerous avenues, and phone numbers and addresses. He was unresponsive and we felt we needed his testimony to move forward.”
District Attorney Angela “Spence” Pacheco said Chappelle needed to testify that he didn’t want the banana peel to hit him and that the peel-tossing disrupted his performance.