'I Can't Breathe': Police Seen Putting Knee On NBA Player Jaxson Hayes' Neck, Tasing Him Multiple Times
Hayes’ girlfriend came out of the home and urged police to stop.
August 28, 2021 at 11:05 pm
Bodycam footage released on Friday shows a Los Angeles police officer briefly pressing a knee to the neck of NBA player Jaxson Hayes as he was heard saying, “I can’t breathe.” The video also shows another officer using a Taser on the New Orleans Pelicans center shortly before the second policeman used his knee.
The incident unfolded after the basketball player's girlfriend called police, saying he had become loud and violent. Officers then approached Hayes in his home in the Woodland Hills neighborhood on July 28 around 3 a.m., according to NBC News.
"What's going on between you and your girl?" police asked the unarmed 21-year-old man as they met him outside of the house.
Hayes then told the officers that he was "having a little argument" with his girlfriend and she was throwing some stuff at him. As officers proceeded to ask who is currently in the house, the young athlete said his cousin and girlfriend are in the home.
While Hayes insisted that "everything is settled," officers told the homeowner to stay outside so they can go inside and talk to his girlfriend.
"I can't go inside my own house?" the Los Angeles resident said.
Hayes also asked police if they have a warrant to go inside. But the officers said that they don’t need one. As the 6 foot 11, 220-pound center tried to block police from entering the house, a tussled ensued between Hayes and the officers. The video shows officer struggling with Hayes while the athlete's cousin desperately tried to calm the situation, urging his loved one to calm down and begging the deputies to put down their weapons.
As the violence escalated, the 21-year-old was eventually wrestled to the ground. While police continued to restrain the young man, with one of them pressing a hand and knee to his neck, Hayes’ girlfriend came out of the home and urged police to stop.
“Stop! Stop! What are you doing?” she screamed.
The officers threatened to use their Taser while Hayes tried to tell them he can't breathe.
"I'm a blessed soul," the pro athlete said in the midst of the chaos.
The officer who briefly placed his knee on Hayes' neck lifted his leg after his colleague instructed him to stop. Police proceeded to fire their taser multiple times, still demanding Hayes to stop resisting. While Hayes' loved ones remained in the background, persistently begging police to calm down, the officers flipped the athlete on his stomach and put him in handcuffs.
As the 2019 first round draft pick continued to express his frustration while being put in handcuffs, his girlfriend pleaded with him to be quiet.
"This is my house. What are you guys doing?" Hayes said. "I'm getting arrested for being at my own house?"
He also demanded to get the officers' badge numbers while demanding them to get off his back.
"You're lucky I don't beat the s**t out of you. You're lucky you have that gun n***a," the Pelicans' player added while his girlfriend urged him to "shut up."
Following the death of George Floyd, who died last year after Minnesota officer Derek Chauvin pressed a knee to his neck for eight minutes, lawmakers across the country proposed policies to stop police from using such type of dangerous maneuvers. As Blavity previously reported, legislatures proposed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which aims to ban chokeholds, ends racial and religious profiling and eliminate qualified immunity for law enforcement.
But the measure still has not passed.
Tamika Mallory, co-founder of the social justice group Until Freedom, raised the topic during a discussion about voting rights. According to ABC 7 Chicago, the activist said voting rights are essential to electing leaders who support police reform.
"One reason we do not have the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act passed at this moment is because of the lack of support on both the Democratic side and the Republican party," she said. "That means we have to elect new folks to office. And we have to have the ability to go to the polls and not be suppressed."