LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles police officer briefly rested a knee on Jaxson Hayes’ neck as the New Orleans Pelicans center gasped “I can’t breathe” seconds before another officer did. uses a Taser on him during a fight, according to a video body cam broadcast Friday.
Police attended Hayes ‘home in the Woodland Hills neighborhood on July 28 at around 3 a.m. after his girlfriend’s cousin called 911. The cousin said Hayes’ girlfriend was texting him. saying he had become loud and violent and that she was afraid.
Hayes, who was unarmed, got into an argument after officers said he couldn’t return home. He ignored requests from his girlfriend and cousin to stop talking and wrestling with the police as they tried to subdue him. The 21-year-old was eventually jailed for resisting arrest after being assessed in a hospital for minor injuries.
Hayes’ agent did not respond to a request for comment on Friday.
A policeman’s elbow was injured when Hayes pushed him against a wall.
The LAPD’s Force Investigation Division is reviewing the case “because of the possibility of force being applied to Hayes’ neck when using force,” police said in a statement. Los Angeles Police have taken the case to prosecutors, who have yet to decide whether to press charges.
Authorities previously said Hayes’ girlfriend refused to cooperate with the investigation.
Hayes, 6-11, 220 pounds, was drafted eighth from Texas in 2019. He is the son of former NFL tight end Jonathan Hayes, who played for Kansas City and Pittsburgh. Young Hayes played a season for the Longhorns before turning pro. In his first two NBA seasons, he averaged 7.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and 16.5 minutes.
Since George Floyd’s death in 2020, there has been heightened sensitivity not only to police violence against black people, but also to police using any type of force that restricts a person’s breathing. While Hayes’ encounter with the police bears some similarities to Floyd’s murder by former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, the differences are notable.
Hayes was on his back when a Los Angeles cop’s knee was pressed against his neck for a few seconds. Floyd was stuck face down below Chauvin’s knee for 9 and a half minutes.
As Hayes gasped “I can’t breathe” several times, another officer said to his partner, “put your knee up.” This officer immediately obeys and Hayes is able to lift his head.
In Floyd’s case, three other officers were charged with aiding and abetting Chauvin for murder and manslaughter because they did not intervene.
The nearly 15-minute edited video of Hayes’ arrest includes the 911 call and body camera footage of several officers. The incident at Hayes’ home began calmly when he answered questions in his driveway with his cousin nearby.
“What’s going on between you and your girlfriend?” asks an officer.
“We were just having a little argument,” Hayes replies. “She was throwing things at me.”
The police say they need to talk to his girlfriend. They tell him and his cousin to wait outside. Hayes wonders why he can’t enter his house and asks if they have a warrant to enter.
Agents say they don’t need it, which may or may not be true under California law. Among the mitigating factors is the fact that officers believe a victim is seriously injured.
Two officers block Hayes as he approaches the front door, while his cousin tells him to calm down. An officer pushes Hayes and his cousin holds him back.
The police separate the men and grab Hayes’ arms. The situation quickly escalates.
Hayes’ cousin starts yelling “Jaxson, stop!” as he brawls with the officers, pushing one against a wall near the front door. An officer pulls out a Taser while others attack Hayes.
“Stop resisting or I’ll smack you!” He yells several times as Hayes struggles to the ground. The officer alternates by resting a hand and a knee on Hayes’ neck. Hayes’ girlfriend comes out of the house and yells “Stop! Stop! What are you doing?”
“Stop resisting or I’ll smack you!” The officer yells as Hayes gasps, “I can’t breathe.”
As two officers hold Hayes’ arms, the officer pulls the Taser, pressing it to his chest for several seconds amid screams from his girlfriend and cousin for them to stop.
Hayes screams and turns around. The officer pulls the Taser a second time, pressing it against Hayes’ butt and the back of his legs, shouting “stop resisting!” “
“I’m quitting, my brother! Hayes shouts.
The officer threatens to use the Taser on him again as Hayes insists he doesn’t resist.
The officers are finally able to handcuff him and force him to sit on a chair. Blood is visible on his arm and shirt.
LAPD officers are trained to aim a stun gun at a person’s back and belly button if the Taser’s probes are used at a distance of 7 to 15 feet, according to agency policy. The Taser should be deployed on the person’s forearm or on the outside of their thigh or calf if the agent uses the device’s direct stunning feature.
Targeting a person’s chest with a Taser is controversial, and the device’s maker has previously said to avoid this area.