More than a year after George Floyd incident, LA police officer presses knee against NBA player’s neck
Los Angeles: In a chilling reminder to the George Floyd case – who diedafter a US policemen pressed his knee against his neck – a video has surfaced of a similar incident in Los Angeles. The body camera video shows an LA police officer briefly pressing a knee to the neck of NBA player Jaxson Hayes as the New Orleans Pelicans center gasped, “I can’t breathe”, seconds before another officer used a Taser on him during a struggle.
On July 28, at around 3 am,the officers went to Hayes’ home in the Woodland Hills neighbourhood. This was after a cousin of New Orleans Pelicans center’s girlfriend called 911, saying that Hayes’ girlfriend was sending her text messages – she was scared as Hayes had become loud and violent.
Hayes, who was not armed, became argumentative after officers said he couldn’t go back into his home. He ignored requests from his girlfriend and his cousin to stop talking and struggling with the police as they tried to subdue him. The 21-year-old ultimately was booked into jail on accusations of resisting arrest after he was evaluated at a hospital for minor injuries. Hayes’ agent did not respond to a request for comment on Friday (August 27.A police officer’s elbow was injured when Hayes shoved him into a wall.
The LAPD’s Force Investigation Division is looking into the case “due to the possibility of force being applied to Hayes’ neck during the use of force,” police previously said in a statement. Los Angeles police have presented the case to prosecutors, who haven’t decided whether to file charges.Authorities previously said Hayes’ girlfriend has declined to cooperate in the investigation.
Hayes, 6-foot-11 and 220 pounds (over 2 meters and nearly 100 kilograms, was drafted eighth overall out of Texas in 2019. He is the son of former NFL tight end Jonathan Hayes, who played for Kansas City and Pittsburgh.
Since George Floyd’s death in 2020 there is heightened sensitivity not just when it comes to police violence against Black people, but to police using any kind of force that restricts a person’s breathing. While Hayes’ encounter with police bears some similarities to Floyd’s murder by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, the differences are notable.
Hayes was on his back when a Los Angeles police officer’s knee was pressed to his neck for a few seconds. Floyd was pinned face-down under Chauvin’s knee for up to 9 1/2 minutes. As Hayes gasped “I can’t breathe” several times, another officer tells his partner “get your knee up”. That officer immediately complies and Hayes is able to lift his head.
In Floyd’s case, three other officers were charged with aiding and abetting Chauvin with murder and manslaughter because they did not intervene.
(With PTI inputs