Why police didn't arrest Will Smith at the Oscars
Los Angeles police were prepared to take action.
The fallout from a very strange week in the entertainment world continues.
As you will no doubt be well aware by now, Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony.
Since that shocking moment, Smith won the Oscar for Best Actor and gave an emotional speech, old jokes by Rock that may have played a part re-emerged, alternative angles of the slap have surfaced, and a formal review is underway.
As we said, a very strange week. And it's not over yet.
Many have wondered just why Smith was allowed to remain at the show after his onstage altercation with Rock.
It had been speculated that Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences by-laws prohibit event officials from taking action in the event of such an incident, though it appears that authorities were indeed immediately contacted.
Speaking on Good Morning America, Oscars producer Will Packer said that Los Angeles Police Department personnel were prepared to arrest Smith.
Police officers didn't arrest Smith, however, as Chris Rock declined to press charges.
"They were saying, you know, this is battery, was the word they use in that moment,” said Packer.
"They said, ‘We will go get him; we are prepared. We’re prepared to get him right now. You can press charges. We can arrest him.’
"They were laying out the options, and as they were talking, Chris was being very dismissive of those options.
"He was like, ‘No, I’m fine.’ He was like, ‘No, no, no.'"
The Los Angeles Times notes that there is no deadline attached should Rock change his mind and thus could file a complaint at any point in the future.
"For misdemeanour crimes, the victim cooperation is important in successful prosecution," said an LAPD spokesperson.
Smith issued a statement on Monday, admitting that his actions were "unacceptable and inexcusable", while finally offering a direct apology to Rock.
"Violence is all its forms is poisonous and destructive," said Smith.