Shortly after the ceremony ended Sunday, the Los Angeles Police Department issued a statement saying that the person who had been slapped had “declined to file a police report.”
In the interview, Mr. Packer described his recollection of law enforcement’s involvement.
“They were saying, you know, this is battery, was the word they use in that moment,” Mr. Packer said in the interview. “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.’”
Both on Sunday night and in subsequent interviews this week, the Los Angeles police have maintained that Mr. Smith’s slap qualified as misdemeanor battery under California law — and that as a misdemeanor, officers cannot take action unless the victim in the case files charges, which Mr. Rock did not do.
In an interview on Thursday, Deputy Chief Blake Chow, of the Los Angeles Police Department’s West Bureau, described the department’s role in less dramatic terms. At the Oscars, police officers are primarily responsible for patrolling outside the Dolby Theater and the Academy hires a security company to handle issues inside the building, he said.
On Sunday, one police captain was stationed backstage as a liaison, the deputy chief said. The police captain inside did not observe the slap himself; but he quickly became aware of it, the deputy chief added. The police captain made contact with a representative for Mr. Rock shortly after the comedian had finished presenting an award and had returned backstage with his team, Deputy Chief Chow said.
The representative communicated “Chris Rock’s wishes” that he did not want to press charges or file a police report, the deputy chief said. “He didn’t want to do anything.”