Video shows NBA’s Jaxson Hayes demanded to see a warrant before shoving LAPD officer
Newly released video of Jaxson Hayes’ arrest last month shows the NBA player arguing with LAPD officers about entering his Woodland Hills home without a warrant, then shoving one against a wall as they began pulling his arms behind his back.
NBA player Jaxson Hayes argued with Los Angeles police officers about entering his Woodland Hills home without a warrant and shoved one of them against a wall before being Tased and forcibly detained, video of the arrest shows.
Along with shedding light on what led up to the arrest, the video from officers’ body-worn cameras captured the aggressive tactics LAPD officers used to restrain Hayes, a 6-foot-11 center for the New Orleans Pelicans.
One officer is seen on the video kneeling on Hayes’ neck as Hayes repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe.” Another officer shocked Hayes with a Taser directly in the chest as Hayes resisted efforts to pin him to the ground.
Hayes, 21, was arrested on suspicion of resisting arrest in the July 28 incident, which occurred outside his home in the city’s Woodland Hills neighborhood.
Prosecutors had not filed any charges against Hayes as of Friday. A spokesman for the L.A. County district attorney’s office said the case was under review.
Hayes could not immediately be reached Friday, and the Pelicans did not respond to a request for comment. The team previously said it was aware of the incident and “working in conjunction with the NBA and Jaxson’s representatives to gather more information.”
Activists critical of the LAPD have accused the officers of violating Hayes’ rights by trying to enter his house and then using excessive force to arrest him. LAPD officials are reviewing the officers’ handling of the incident.
LAPD policy forbids officers from blocking or restricting a person’s airway while trying to subdue them. Targeting a person’s chest with a Taser is controversial and LAPD officers are trained to use the stun weapon on other parts of a suspect’s body if possible. If an officer is firing a Taser’s probes, for example, the person’s back and navel area should be the target, according to LAPD policy. A direct stun should be deployed on a forearm, the outside of a thigh or calf.
Legal experts said that whether the officers needed a warrant to enter Hayes’ home would be based on a variety of factors — including the perceived safety of the woman inside.
Orin Kerr, a 4th Amendment expert and professor at UC Berkeley School of Law, said police ordinarily need a warrant to enter a home without consent, but there is Supreme Court precedent that holds that officers can also enter a home if they have an “objectively reasonable basis for believing an occupant is seriously injured or imminently threatened with such injury.”
“The key question,” Kerr said, “would be whether there is enough of an emergency need to protect someone inside.”
In addition to the body-camera footage, the LAPD on Friday released a video that included a recording of the 911 call that initially sent officers to Hayes’ home.
The caller, who identified herself as the cousin of Hayes’ girlfriend, told a dispatcher that her cousin had asked her for help summoning police to the house because Hayes was “getting loud and violent, and she’s scared and can’t call the police herself.”
The caller identified Hayes as an NBA player who is nearly 7 feet tall but repeatedly stressed that there were no weapons in the home.
“He’s not armed or anything,” the caller said.
When officers arrived, the camera footage showed Hayes meeting them on his driveway.
“What’s going on between you and your girl?” one of the officers asked.
“We were just having a little argument. She was throwing some stuff at me,” Hayes replied.
Another man, whom Hayes identified to police as his cousin and the only other person in the house, also came outside. “Everything is settled. It’s cool,” the man said.
The officers told Hayes they needed to speak to the woman and instructed him to remain outside as they headed for his front door, according to the camera footage.
“I can’t go inside my own house?” Hayes said, walking alongside the officers.
“Not at the moment,” an officer responded.
Hayes asked if the officers had a warrant, and one told him they didn’t need one.
“No, you do need a warrant,” Hayes said.
The other man whom Hayes identified as his cousin urged him to remain calm and wait for his girlfriend, who was not identified, to come to the door.
“I know my laws,” Hayes said.
“You’re mistaken, sir,” an officer said. “Step back, please.”
As the officers continued moving toward Hayes’ front door, he walked with them, arguing with them.
“Get the f— off my property,” Hayes eventually said.
Two officers then grabbed at Hayes’ arms to restrain him.
“Yo, stop grabbing me like that,” Hayes said.
An officer then told Hayes he was going to be detained, and two officers began pulling his arms behind his back. Hayes spun and pushed one of the officers into a wall near the home’s front door, the video shows. The officer suffered an unspecified elbow injury, police said.
Officers then took Hayes to the ground. Hayes tried to resist, and was soon on his back. One of the officers grabbed him by the throat and placed a knee on his neck.
“I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe,” Hayes said.
“Get your knee up,” a second officer said.
“Give me your f— badge number,” Hayes then said, as he began to sit up.
At that moment, an officer placed a Taser against Hayes’ chest and activated it.
“No!” screamed Hayes’ cousin. A woman began screaming as well and pleading with Hayes not to resist. It is not clear if the woman in the video is Hayes’ girlfriend.
“Y’all ready to walk up to a n— house and shoot them like that?” Hayes said. “... I came out, talked to y’all, and you all gonna tackle me like this, bro?”
Hayes continued talking back to the officers as they handcuffed him and pulled him into a chair on the porch.
“You’re lucky I don’t beat the s— out of you,” Hayes said at one point. “You’re lucky you have that gun.”
Police said the woman at the home “declined to cooperate” with the investigation.
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