'I can't breathe': Year after George Floyd's death, NBA player faces cop action

Published on Aug 28, 2021 03:18 PM IST

A 15-minute-long bodycam video shows how a calm incident involving basketball player Jaxson Hayes rapidly escalated, and he was tased. The officers ultimately handcuffed Hayes and forced him to sit in a chair.

File photo of New Orleans Pelicans center Jaxson Hayes.(AP)
File photo of New Orleans Pelicans center Jaxson Hayes.(AP)
By | Written by Amit Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

More than a year after George Floyd died after a US policemen pressed his knee against his neck, similar incident has been reported from Los Angeles. A body camera video released on Friday showed the neck of NBA player Jaxson Hayes under the knee of a cop as he gasped "I can't breathe".

The footage is from July 28, when the cops went to the house of the New Orleans Pelicans center around 3 am following a 911 call from the cousin of Hayes' girlfriend. The cousin said Hayes' girlfriend was sending her text messages saying he had become loud and violent and she was scared.

Watch what LAPD says about the incident:

The 21-year-old ultimately was booked into jail on accusations of resisting arrest after he was evaluated at a hospital for minor injuries. But the LAPD said in a statement that their Force Investigation Division is looking into the case "due to the possibility of force being applied to Hayes' neck during the use of force".

"The LAPD conducts very thorough 'use of force' investigations which typically requires the police officers to interview multiple witnesses and analyse significant amount of forensic evidence. We are still at an early stage of investigation, which can often take upto a year to complete," said Captain Stacy Spell, commanding officer of the media relations division of LAPD, in a video released by the department.

This is yet another chilling reminder of the police violence against the Black people on America. Floyd's death last year led to the biggest outcry against racial injustice in the US in generations, and heightened sensitivity about using any kind of force that restricts a person's breathing.

Floyd died gasping for air on May 25, 2020, after Derek Chauvin pressed his knee against his neck for up to 9 and a half minutes after being pinned down on the suspicion of using a counterfeit $20 bill. Chauvin was thrown out of the police force and given 22 and a half years in jail - one of the longest prison terms ever imposed on a US police officer in the killing of a Black person.

He was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

However, there are some difference between what happened with Floyd and Hayes' incident in July. The 6-foot-11 and 220 pounds basketball player 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.

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.

The 15-minute-long bodycam video shows how the calm incident rapidly escalated, and Hayes was tased. The officers ultimately handcuffed Hayes and forced him to sit in a chair. The video also showed blood on his arm and shirt.

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