Anthony Hayes & Will Smith: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Will Smith

Will Smith was allegedly shot and killed by Cardell Hayes, who was arrested for second-degree murder. Cardell’s dad, Anthony, had been killed by the police in 2005. (Getty)

Anthony Hayes, Cardell Hayes’ dad, was shot and killed by New Orleans police in 2005. His son, Cardell, has been arrested and accused of shooting and killing former New Orleans Saints football player Will Smith. Smith had just had dinner with a police officer who was named in Cardell’s lawsuit over his dad’s death. Police are trying to determine if there was any connection between the lawsuit and the shooting. What happened to Cardell’s dad, Anthony, in 2005?

Here’s what you need to know.


1. Anthony Hayes Was Shot & Killed by New Orleans Police in 2005

The above video, shared by Fletcher Mackel of NBC New Orleans, shows Anthony Hayes just before he was shot and killed by New Orleans police in 2005. You can see more raw video of the shooting at this link. Anthony appears to start to run from a large group of police officers who have their guns raised.

According to The Times-Picayune, Anthony Hayes was 38 at the time of the shooting on December 26, 2005. He had argued with an employee at a local drug store after his credit card didn’t work and possibly punched him. After he left and was walking down the street, an off-duty sheriff’s deputy saw a pocket knife in Hayes’ hand and flagged down a police officer. A group of policemen surrounded Hayes and used pepper spray on him first. A witness recorded the entire encounter, part of which you can see in the tweet above. City attorneys said the police officers who killed Anthony Hayes were justified in their use of force. But the plaintiffs said he was backing away before he was shot and they should have used non-lethal force. Anthony Hayes was shot nine times when he was killed.


2. Anthony’s Shooting Was the First Police Shooting Since New Orleans Reopened After Hurricane Katrina

cardell hayes

Mugshot of Cardell Hayes, Anthony Hayes’ son. (Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office)

The shooting of Anthony Hayes was the first officer-involved shooting to happen after New Orleans reopened following Hurricane Katrina, according to The Washington Post. At the time, officers said that the police feared for their lives because Anthony lunged at them with a knife.

Officers said they tried to pepper spray him, but he covered his face with a cloth and continued to walk toward them. A witness said the cops kept asking Anthony to lie down, but he did not. Police Superintendent Warren Riley told CBS News at the time that officers were trained to treat knife attacks as deadly force and are trained to shoot to kill. He said it would have betrayed their police training if they tried to fire non-lethal shots:

The vast majority of police departments, state, local and federal, are trained to shoot-to-kill … either the head or the chest area.


3. Police Said Anthony Had a Long Record & May Have Been Schizophrenic

News reports from the incident at the time said that Anthony Hayes had a long record, but the police superintendent wouldn’t elaborate on it, CBS News reported. Relatives told news stations at the time that Anthony was schizophrenic.


4. Cardell Hayes Sued the Police Department & Got a Multi-Million-Dollar Settlement

According to NBC New Orleans, Cardell Hayes had received a multi-million dollar settlement in 2011 for his lawsuit against the New Orleans police Department over his dad’s death. The lawsuit was filed by Cardell and another sibling.


5. Smith Had Just Had Dinner With a Police Officer Whom Cardell Had Named in the Lawsuit Over Anthony’s Death

Just before he was shot and killed, Will Smith and his wife Racquel had dinner with Billy Ceravolo, former New Orleans Police Department commander, and Pierre Thomas, former Saints running back. Cardell Hayes had named Ceravolo in a high-profile lawsuit over the shooting death of his dad, Anthony Hayes, in 2005.

Ceravolo retired from the New Orleans police department in 2013 after 25 years on the force. He was named as being one of several officers who shot and killed Anthony Hayes. Ceravolo has said he wasn’t aware that he was named in the lawsuit.