Video shows officer place knee in Pelicans center Jaxson Hayes’ neck, tase him during arrest

·Writer
·3 min read

Body camera footage released by the Los Angeles Police Department on Friday showed an officer placing his knee into New Orleans Pelicans center Jaxson Hayes' neck during his arrest last month.

Hayes, after the officer's knee was in the side of his neck, gasped out, “I can’t breathe” multiple times.

The officer then pulled his knee off after another officer spoke up, and Hayes was tased soon after in the chest before he was eventually taken into custody.

The LAPD posted the edited video to its YouTube channel on Friday, and it can be seen here. The video contains language that is NSFW and disturbing scenes.

Jaxson Hayes arrested, injured in incident

Police were called to a Los Angeles-area home that Hayes was staying at early on July 28 on a domestic disturbance call. Hayes’ girlfriend's cousin called police and said that she was texted by Hayes’ girlfriend that he had become loud and violent.

Police arrived at the home and are seen in the footage speaking with Hayes and others in the driveway. Hayes, who was unarmed, became agitated and argued with the officers when they wouldn’t let him go back inside the home.

A friend briefly tried to hold Hayes back, but things escalated and officers wrestled Hayes to the ground. That’s when the officer placed his knee into Hayes’ neck while he was on his back.

The officer's knee was only in Hayes' neck for a few seconds before another officer stepped in and told him to remove it, though Hayes gasped out at least four times that he couldn’t breathe.

Instantly after the knee was removed, Hayes gasped, “I’m a blessed soul.”

The LAPD announced days after his arrest that it was launching an investigation. Video obtained by TMZ at the time showed part of his arrest, though it did not show the officer’s knee in Hayes’ neck.

Chief Michael Moore acknowledged “the possibility of force being applied to the suspect’s neck during the use of force in taking him into custody" when announcing that investigation. Hayes “was complaining of having trouble breathing, saying that he could not breathe.”

Hayes was arrested on suspicion of resisting arrest. His girlfriend reportedly declined to cooperate with the investigation, and Hayes’ case is still pending. He was treated for minor injuries at the hospital.

Hayes, the former No. 8 overall pick, averaged 7.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game for the Pelicans last season, his second in the league.

The scene is similar to that of George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis last year — something that sparked massive social justice movements throughout the country, including in the NBA. Floyd was on his stomach when former officer Derek Chauvin placed his knee into his neck for more than nine minutes. Chauvin was convicted earlier this year, and is serving a 22.5-year sentence in federal prison. The LAPD, like many departments around the country, outlawed neck restraints after Floyd’s murder.

Jaxson Hayes of the New Orleans Pelicans
Jaxson Hayes, who was arrested in Los Angeles last month, gasped, “I can’t breathe” multiple times before the officer removed his knee from Hayes’ neck. (Sean Gardner/Getty Images)