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LAPD Says Police Officer Who Arrested Jaxson Hayes Broke Policy By Kneeling On His Neck

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Jaxson Hayes

Jaxson Hayes is a big man that currently plays for the New Orleans Pelicans. He is well-known for being an athletic finisher near the rim that can also protect the rim. He averaged 9.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 0.6 APG for the Pelicans this season, and shot 61.6% from the field.

There is no doubt that we usually hear about Jaxson Hayes in a basketball context. In 2021, though, Jaxson Hayes was in the news due to him getting arrested in Los Angeles, with one police officer kneeling on Hayes' neck and another officer tasing him.

The Los Angeles Police Commission has recently revealed that the LAPD sergeant who kneeled on Jaxson Hayes' neck violated policy by doing so. However, it was also mentioned that the use of the taser was "justified" in that scenario. An article by Libor Jany of The Los Angeles Times relayed the news.

An LAPD sergeant violated department policy by kneeling on the neck of NBA player Jaxson Hayes while arresting him in response to a call about a domestic dispute last July, the Los Angeles Police Commission ruled Tuesday.

After Hayes, a 6-foot-11 center for the New Orleans Pelicans, was taken to the ground by police outside a Woodland Hills home, Sgt. Darren Holst began kneeling on his neck.

Hayes shouted, “I can’t breathe,” and another officer used a Taser on him twice, hitting him once in the chest, LAPD Chief Michel Moore wrote in a report released after the Police Commission’s weekly meeting Tuesday. Commissioners agreed with the chief’s findings that the knee-on-the-neck maneuver went against department protocols but that the use of the Taser was justified.

In reaching his conclusion, Moore cited a use-of-force review board investigation, which found that Holst twice put his knee on the basketball player’s neck, first for four seconds, and then for 11 seconds. Moore wrote that the sergeant’s tactic “resulted in unintentional but direct pressure to Hayes’ trachea or windpipe” — though not with enough force to render Hayes unconscious.

Intentional or not, Moore said that he agreed with the board’s finding that “an officer with similar training and experience as Sergeant Holst, in the same situation, would not reasonably believe that the applying direct pressure to the trachea or windpipe was proportional, objectively reasonable, or necessary.”

The Police Commission’s votes Tuesday were unanimous, with one commissioner absent.

It is disappointing that the police officer used excessive force to subdue Jaxson Hayes. While Jaxson Hayes is alright currently, there's no doubt that continuous pressure on someone's neck could have very serious repercussions for that person.

It remains to be seen what happens further in this situation, and what the response from the LAPD will be in regards to their police officer using excessive force. Hopefully, the use of excessive force by the LAPD won't happen again in the future.