LOS ANGELES -- According to video from body camera, a Los Angeles officer temporarily pressed a knee against Jaxson Hayes' neck as the New Orleans Pelicans centre gasped for air. Then another officer used a Taser to disarm him during a struggle.
After his cousin called 911, Hayes' girlfriend had requested that the officers go to Hayes’ Woodland Hills home at 3:00 a.m. According to the cousin, Hayes' girlfriend was texting her messages claiming that he was becoming violent and louder and she was afraid.
Hayes, although he was not armed became argumentative when officers told him he couldn’t return to his home. Hayes refused to listen to his cousin and girlfriend, and continued to fight with police officers as they attempted to subdue his behavior. After being treated at a hospital for minor injuries, the 21-year old was eventually booked into jail.
His attorney Mark Baute said that Jaxson Hayes was a fine young man and that he is back in Ohio training and getting ready for this season.
According to police, the LAPD's Force Investigation Division has begun to investigate the case. This is "due to the possibility that force was applied to Hayes neck during the use force," they previously stated in a statement. Los Angeles police presented the case to the prosecutors. They have not decided whether to bring charges.
Hayes shoved a police officer into a wall, injuring his elbow. Authorities have previously stated that Hayes' girlfriend declined to cooperate with the investigation.
Hayes, 6'11" and 220 lbs, was drafted eighth in the 2019 Texas draft. He is the son Jonathan Hayes (an ex-NFL tight end who also played for Kansas City, Pittsburgh). Before turning pro, the younger Hayes was a Longhorns player for one season. He averaged 7.4 points and 4.2 rebounds in his two first NBA seasons. He also played 16.5 minutes.
There has been a rise in sensitivity to police violence against Blacks and police using force to restrict a person's ability to breathe since George Floyd's passing in 2020. Although Hayes' encounters with police are similar to Floyd's death by Derek Chauvin, there are significant differences.
Hayes was lying on his back while a Los Angeles officer pressed his neck with his knee for a few seconds. Floyd was held face down under Chauvin's knee for approximately 9 minutes.
As Hayes gasps repeatedly "I can't breath" many times, an officer says to Hayes, "Get your knees up." Hayes can now lift his head because the officer obliged immediately.
Floyd's case saw three additional officers charged with helping and abetting Chauvin in murder and manslaughter. They failed to intervene.
Hayes' arrest is captured in a nearly 15-minute edited video. It includes footage from multiple officers and footage from the 911 call. Hayes began the incident calmly by answering questions in his driveway while his cousin stood nearby.
"What's the matter between you and your girl?" One officer asks.
Hayes replies, "We were just having some argument." "She was throwing stuff at me."
They say that they must speak with his girlfriend. He and his cousin are told to go outside. Hayes asks why he cannot go into his house and asks if he has a warrant.
Officers respond that they don’t require one. This may or may not hold true under California law. The officers may also consider whether a victim has been seriously injured.
Hayes was stopped by two officers as he approached the front door. His cousin told him to relax. Hayes is pushed back by one officer and his cousin keeps him back.
The police seperate the men and take Hayes' arms. The situation quickly escalates.
Hayes' cousin starts shouting "Jaxson!" As he wrestles with officers, Hayes' cousin shouts "Jaxson, stop!" As Hayes is being fought, one officer pulls out his Taser.
"Stop resisting, or I'm going to tase!" He yells repeatedly as Hayes fights on the ground. He alternates between pressing his hand on Hayes' neck with one hand and another knee. Hayes' girlfriend runs out of Hayes' home screaming "Stop!" Stop! Stop!
"Stop resisting, or I'm going to tase!" Hayes gasps and the officer shouts, "I can't breath!"
Two officers hold Hayes in their arms and fire the Taser. Hayes' cousin and girlfriend cries for them not to stop.
Hayes screams, then flips over. The officer fires the Taser again, pressing it near Hayes' buttocks, and the back of Hayes' legs. He yells "stop resisting!"
"I'm stopping bro!" Hayes shouts.
Hayes insists that the officer isn't resisting and threatens to use Taser again on him.
He is eventually handcuffed by the officers and forced to sit in a seat. His shirt and arm are stained with blood.
According to LAPD policy, officers can aim a stun gun at someone's navel and back if they are using the Taser probes from more than 7 to 15 feet away. If the Taser's direct stun function is being used, the Taser should be placed on the person's forearm, outside their thigh, or calf.
Tasering the chest of a person is a controversial tactic. The maker of the Taser has stated previously that they will not target this area.