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The Real Reason The LAPD Didn't Arrest Will Smith After Slap

Though Will Smith's infamous confrontation with Chris Rock at the 94th annual Academy Awards lasted only a few seconds, the story around it continues to unfold as those involved speak out and people who were at the ceremony explain what took place in the chaos behind the scenes. After an improvised joke by Rock about Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, the "King Richard" actor strode to the stage and slapped Rock. Smith then returned to his seat and cursed at Rock.

On Monday, the Academy announced a formal review into Smith's behavior, and over the course of the week, they've met to discuss possible consequences for the star ranging from a ban on his attendance at future events to a full expulsion from the Academy. Also on Monday, Smith issued a public apology via Instagram to Rock and others and called his behavior "not indicative of the man I want to be." Rock told an audience he wasn't ready to discuss the incident during a Thursday night show and shut down an anti-Smith heckler. Pinkett Smith, for her part, has remained mostly silent, though she spoke out on Tuesday with a short, cryptic statement posted to Instagram.

Much of the clarifying information the public has received is coming from those who saw what went on behind the scenes at the Oscars after the incident, and thanks to a new interview with a producer, we know what the Los Angeles Police Department wanted to do about the situation, and why they didn't arrest Will Smith.

Chris Rock dismissed the idea of having Will Smith arrested

The LAPD was on location at the event to arrest Will Smith following his on-stage altercation with Chris Rock, but Rock refused, according to Oscars producer Will Packer in an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America." Packer says he was told by an officer, "We will go and arrest him right now."

Packer said Rock's mood backstage was still quippy, and that the comedian joked about taking a punch "from Mohammed Ali," (Smith portrayed him in a 2001 biopic) but that the LAPD needed to speak with Rock nonetheless. Officers came into Packer's office to talk to Rock, and the producer quoted them as saying, "This is battery. We will go get him. We're prepared. We're prepared to get him right now. You can press charges. We can arrest him." But Packer noted Rock was "dismissive" of the options being presented to him, telling the police, "No, no, no," before they had finished speaking. "I said, 'Rock, let them finish,'" Packer explained, "and they said, you know, 'Would you like us to take any action?' and he said, 'No.'"

But even then, the Academy was prepared to remove Smith from the Dolby Theater on their own, and Packer says he talked them out of it, saying it didn't seem like Rock wanted the "King Richard" actor escorted out, either. "I immediately went to the Academy leadership that was on site and I said, 'Chris Rock doesn't want that.' I said, 'Rock has made it clear that he does not want to make a bad situation worse.' That was Chris's energy."

Shortly after the incident, Smith won his first Oscar for best actor for his performance in "King Richard" and took to the stage again, where he delivered a lengthy, emotional acceptance speech.