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Pelicans rising star Jaxson Hayes sentenced to community service

Hayes’ sentencing follows his 2021 arrest for involvement in a fight with Los Angeles police officers.

Pelicans rising star Jaxson Hayes sentenced to community service
Carmen MandatoAFP

Having demonstrated his promise on the court, the question is now whether or not the Pelicans’ young prospect can learn to control himself off of it.

Pelicans center Jaxson Hayes sentenced to probation and community service

According to reports on Tuesday, New Orleans Pelicans center Jaxson Hayes was sentenced to three years of probation, 450 hours of community service and a year of weekly domestic violence classes. The sentencing follows his 2021 arrest after an incident with police in Los Angeles.

Indeed, the 22 year old Hayes was charged with 12 misdemeanors on January 20th of this year, for his role in a physical altercation with police officers on the morning of July 28, 2021. Police at the time were responding to a domestic disturbance call. It was approximately 3 a.m. when he was arrested. Where the charges themselves are concerned, it is understood that they included three counts of inflicting corporal injury to a spouse, two counts of domestic battery, one count of battery against an officer, one count of false imprisonment, three counts of vandalism, one count of aggravated trespassing and one count of resisting arrest. As per the report, Hayes pleaded no contest to misdemeanor counts of false imprisonment and resisting an officer on February 24th, 2022. The remaining 10 misdemeanors were later dismissed.

What exactly did Jaxson Hayes do on July 28th, 2021?

On the morning of July 28th, 2021 Los Angeles police responded to a domestic disturbance call made by Hayes’ then-girlfriend. When officers arrived at the residence in the Woodland Hill neighborhood of Los Angeles and proceeded to question the Pelicans center, he explained to them that he and his partner “were just having a little argument. She was just throwing some stuff at me. Just cleaning it up.” At that moment police asked Hayes if they could enter the home in order to speak with the woman, at which point he became aggressive and pushed an officer into a wall.

Jaxson Hayes was wrong, but what about the police?

While on the surface it may seem an open and shut case against Hayes, there were in fact other layers to the scenario which in turn brought with them a great deal of controversy. Edited body cam footage later released by the L.A. Police Department appeared to show the altercation. During the video an officer can be seen tasing Hayes after which he forcibly presses his hand and knee against Hayes’ neck. Pelicans player can then be heard repeatedly saying, “I can’t breathe.” Additional video released by TMZ in August 2021 only added further weight to the situation, as in the footage an officer appears to tase Hayes in the chest. As per reports, Hayes was treated at a hospital for injuries suffered during the scuffle before being arrested. Interestingly, the LAPD faced an investigation over the incident, but the findings of said investigation are yet to be released to the public.

*the following video contains violent images that some may find disturbing*

Incidentally, Hayes did not face any form of punishment from the NBA, though NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Pelicans owner Gayle Benson both received letters from LA Police Protective League. It is understood, however, that he faced internal reprimand from the team itself.

Who is Jaxson Hayes?

A former Big 12 Freshman of the Year out of the University of Texas, Hayes averaged 10.0 points and 5.0 rebounds per game on 72.8% from the field. The highlight of his time with the Long Horns came when he scored a career-high 19 points to go with 7 rebounds, two steals and a block in a 69–56 loss to TCU. In April of 2019 Hayes declared for the NBA Draft and was actually selected by the Atlanta Hawks at No. 8 overall. It wasn’t long, however, before his draft rights were traded in a multi team and player deal to the New Orleans Pelicans on June 20th, 2019. This past season Hayes averaged 9.3 points and 4.5 rebounds in the 70 games that he played.


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