New Orleans Pelicans center Jaxson Hayes has been charged with domestic violence abuse, resisting arrest and battery against a police officer in connection with a July incident at his Woodland Hills home in which LAPD officers choked him and hit him with a Taser.
The Los Angeles city attorney’s office charged Hayes on Monday with five counts of abusing a spouse or co-habitant, one count of resisting arrest, one count of battery against an LAPD officer, three counts of vandalism and one count of trespassing in connection with the July clash.
Police responded to Hayes’ home after his girlfriend’s cousin called 911 and said Hayes was being “loud and violent” and that his significant other was scared. When police arrived on scene, however, Hayes and the woman who called police told responding officers that the situation had been diffused, according to video of the incident released last year by LAPD.
The officers told Hayes to wait outside while they talked to the woman, but he demanded to see a search warrant and asked why he couldn’t go in his own home.
As the argument escalated, an officer then told Hayes he was going to be detained, and two officers tried to restrain him. 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.
Hayes was then taken to the ground and one officer began kneeling on his neck and Hayes shouted, “I can’t breathe.” Another officer then struck him in the chest with a Taser, the video shows.
The LAPD immediately came under scrutiny for the force depicted in the video, as it seemed to run afoul of department policy. Officers are forbidden from blocking or restricting a person’s airway while trying to subdue them. Targeting a person’s chest with a Taser is also strongly discouraged, according to LAPD policy.
In the aftermath of the incident, police said Hayes’ girlfriend had refused to cooperate with the investigation, though an unidentified woman is now listed as the victim in the domestic violence charges made public Monday.
Calls to Hayes’ agent seeking comment were not immediately returned, and the LAPD did not immediately respond to questions about the case. Attempts to contact a Pelicans spokesperson were unsuccessful.
The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office declined to pursue felony charges against Hayes last year, drawing the ire of the union that represents rank-and-file officers who alleged the decision made it clear suspects could attack officers with impunity.
The district attorney’s office did not immediately respond to a request for a copy of the memo explaining the reason prosecutors declined charges against Hayes.
Hayes was in New Orleans on Sunday, where the Pelicans played the New York Knicks. The team is scheduled to tip off against the Indiana Pacers Monday afternoon.
Times staff writer Kevin Rector contributed to this report.