“I Can’t Breathe” | New Orleans Pelicans Center Jaxson Hayes Faces 12 Misdemeanors After Police Interaction Last July

Image Credit: Police body cam footage screen shot

New Orleans Pelicans center Jaxson Hayes has significant problems in connection with a police encounter in Los Angeles.

In July, the L.A. police were called to the Hayes’ home after his girlfriend’s cousin reportedly called 911 during a domestic dispute. However, the incident spiraled into a tussle with the officers. Ultimately, the police used a taser on Hayes to suppress and eventually arrest him.

Hayes’ Run-In

Fast forward six months later, and Hayes has now been charged with 12 misdemeanors counts in Los Angeles County, according to reports.

The counts range from inflicting corporal injury, a domestic violence charge, destroying property, using force, resisting a police officer, and using force and violence against an LAPD member, among other charges.

On Feb. 15 Hayes will be arraigned, and he could face jail time if he is convicted on every count. However, Hayes can minimize his punishment or fight the charges through plea bargaining.

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What Happened?

Late last July, around 3 a.m., officers were called to Hayes’ Woodland Hills neighborhood. According to reports, the cousin of Hayes’ girlfriend called the police after Hayes had allegedly become loud and violent toward his girlfriend.

The cousin received the information via text from the girlfriend, and she feared for her safety. However, when police arrived, according to reports, Hayes was not armed, and police body cameras showed the incident as non-confrontational.

However, officers would not let Hayes back into his home while questioning his girlfriend. Unfortunately, the police questioning the girlfriend away from Hayes, sparking the confrontation.

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Felt Threatened?

The statement from police statement said that officers found Hayes in the front yard of a home last summer and ordered him to stay outside. They felt that he repeatedly tried to get back into the house, creating the scuffle that eventually occurred.

According to the police statement from LAPD, officers requested backup and attempted to place Hayes’s hands behind his back; however, Hayes broke free.

According to reports, Hayes then shoved one officer into a wall, which caused the officer to be hospitalized. Reports are that while on the ground, an officer placed his knee on Hayes’ neck for several seconds, causing Hayes to say, “I can’t breathe” several times.

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Then another officer approached, saying, “get your knee up,” with the officer complying and walking away. However, police felt that Hayes continued to resist, and they tased him.

The department revealed that the 21-year-old athlete was treated for unspecified injuries before being booked into jail. He was later released on bond. Police say a woman declined to cooperate with the investigation.

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Hayes Will Cooperate

“Jaxson Hayes will cooperate with the B.A. and the (Los Angeles) City Attorney to resolve the misdemeanors and move forward with his life and his career,” said Hayes’ attorney Mark Baute to local station WDSU.

Hayes has come off the bench in 33 games for the Pelicans.

In the team’s last ten games, he has averaged just less than 17 minutes, scoring 8.9 points on 71.7 percent shooting, plus 3.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game.


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Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.