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Chokehold used on Pelicans center Jaxson Hayes unlawful, legal analyst says

LAPD Officer’s knee on Jaxson Hayes’ neck from LAPD bodycam video
LAPD Officer’s knee on Jaxson Hayes’ neck from LAPD bodycam video(LAPD bodycam)
Published: Sep. 24, 2021 at 12:29 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 24, 2021 at 1:00 PM CDT
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LOS ANGELES (WVUE) - A legal analyst reviewing bodycam footage from the night New Orleans Pelicans center Jaxson Hayes was arrested following a domestic dispute call says that the use of a chokehold by Los Angeles police during the altercation was unlawful.

New Orleans Pelicans center Jaxson Hayes (10) controls the ball during the first half of an NBA...
New Orleans Pelicans center Jaxson Hayes (10) controls the ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)(Ashley Landis | AP)

Amy Dash, who has served as a legal correspondent for CBS and Fox Sports, says that the type of chokehold used on Hayes by officers is illegal, considering that California banned the use of carotid restraints and chokeholds by passing and signing it into law a year ago after the death of George Floyd. Dash said that the use of force was excessive, noting the number of officers that were on the scene.

She says that Hayes’s life was in danger that night back in August.

In early August, Hayes, who is 6-foot-11 and 220 lbs., got into an altercation with LAPD officers that were responding to a domestic dispute call that was made when neighbors heard the pro athlete and his girlfriend having a verbal argument outside of a residence.

LAPD officers said that when they arrived, Hayes, 21, was outside of the home and refused orders to not retreat inside of the residence. When Hayes resisted, there was a struggle. Hayes allegedly shoved an officer into a wall before being tased and held in a chokehold, bodycam footage shows.

Following a use of force investigation, Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon chose to not file charges against Hayes. Gascon has declined to comment on his decision.

The LA Police Union openly blasted Gascon for declining to pursue charges, claiming that Hayes should be held responsible for putting officers in harm’s way.

Dash said that the investigation into LAPD’s possibly illegal use of force is still active and that, in her legal opinion, the officers should have been more mindful about why chokeholds have been made illegal in California. She also said that Hayes can be seen on camera shoving officers down, actions that she said are also ‘unacceptable’ on the basketball player’s part.

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