A Los Angeles police officer twice held his knee against the neck of NBA player Jaxson Hayes, once as he gasped “I can’t breathe!” during a domestic violence call at the athlete’s home in Woodland Hills, a video released by the department on Friday, Aug. 27, shows.
An officer also pressed a Taser to Hayes’ chest, according to body-worn camera footage released as part of a critical incident briefing by the Los Angeles Police Department. The makers of Taser have advised against targeting a suspect’s chest.
Police were called to the 22000 block home on Mariano Street by a cousin of Hayes’ girlfriend at around 2:50 a.m. on July 28, according to parts of a 911 call issued by police.
The cousin told a dispatcher that Hayes’ girlfriend was texting him saying he was loud and violent and that she was scared, according to the audio of the call. The cousin also said Hayes was unarmed.
Hayes was arrested following the July 28 incident for resisting a police officer.
An officer was treated for an elbow injury sustained when Hayes pushed him against the wall, police said, and Hayes was treated for what police described as minor injuries.
Hayes, who is 6 feet 11 inches tall and weighs 220 pounds, plays for the New Orleans Pelicans.
Police said last month that the Los Angeles Police Force Investigation Division was investigating the incident “due to the possibility of force being applied to Hayes’ neck when using force.” .
Body-worn camera footage released Friday shows the officer placing his knee on Hayes’ neck for at least three seconds the first time and 12 seconds the next time. The officer removes his knee from Hayes’ neck on the orders of another officer.
The video shows officers meeting Hayes and his cousin in the driveway of the two-story house. Hayes explains to the police that he and his girlfriend, who stayed inside, were arguing and throwing stuff.
Hayes says he and his cousin are cleaning up and his cousin tells officers, “It’s all settled, that’s cool.
But when the officers tell Hayes they need to talk to the girlfriend, Hayes asks who called the officers and tells them he wants to see a warrant, which the officers explain they don’t need.
Hayes is told he must stay outside, but he starts arguing with the officers and walks back to the front door.
An officer tells Hayes he’s inmate and tries to put his hands behind his back, but Hayes breaks free and pushes an officer against the wall, at which point other officers wrestle Hayes to the ground.
In two separate cases, an officer places his knee on Hayes’ neck while Hayes is lying on his back, the video shows. The second time around, Hayes can be heard gasping and saying “I can’t breathe!” thrice.
Moments later, another officer presses the Taser against Hayes’ chest before deploying the weapon after Hayes moves, causing Hayes to flip over. The agent uses the Taser a second time on the back of Hayes’ upper left leg. According to LAPD policy, the optimal target areas for the Taser are the back and the naval area.
Despite requests from his girlfriend and cousin to stop talking and stop moving, Hayes continues to grapple with the cops for over a minute on the ground before they handcuff him.
“I went out to talk to you, and you’re all going to attack me like that, my brother?” Hayes is heard saying during the fight.
As Hayes is knocked down and placed in a chair, blood is visible on his arm and the front of his shirt.
Hayes’ girlfriend did not cooperate with the police investigation following the altercation. To date, no criminal charges have been filed against Hayes by the district attorney’s office.
“Jaxson Hayes is a nice young man, and he’s back home in Ohio to train and prepare for the coming season,” his attorney, Mark Baute, told The Associated Press on Friday.