Advocate- Hayes’ father, Anthony, was mentally unstable and had gotten into an argument with an employee at a St. Charles Avenue pharmacy while holding a pocket knife when officers shot and killed him, officials said. Hayes, now 28, sued for damages, alleging that officers should have used non-lethal force — such as a stun gun — to subdue his father, but none of the cops had such a tool.
The litigation was settled in 2011 for an undisclosed amount of money that could be described as “large,” said attorney Ike Spears, who represented Hayes in that matter but is not involved in the Smith case.
One of the defendants named in the lawsuit Hayes filed against the city was Billy Ceravolo, who retired from the New Orleans Police Department as a captain in 2013 after 25 years on the force. The lawsuit accused Ceravolo of being among several officers to fatally shoot Anthony Hayes.
Ceravolo on Sunday said he was eating dinner with Smith and former Saints running back Pierre Thomas at a restaurant in the Lower Garden District shortly before authorities said Smith was rear-ended by Cardell Hayes, 28, on a nearby street.
Police allege that Hayes fatally shot Smith and wounded his wife, Racquel, during an argument that erupted after the collision.
You know what's worse than a positive public figure getting gunned down as a result of tempers flaring following a fender bender? This. This is exactly what I was afraid of. Part of me knew something like this was a possibility when I originally wrote about it, but I optimistically - for lack a better term - ignored that part of me. As dumb as this would have been if it were an isolated act of violence, it's that much worse considering it was potentially nothing more than an indirect act of retribution stemming from a decade old incident for which the victim wasn't even present. Essentially Will Smith may have lost his life because he ate a fucking meal with a cop that may or may not have acted hastily towards a knife wielding lunatic in the line of duty ten years earlier. In terms of homicide, this story takes the term 'senseless' to relatively unforeseen heights. A former Saints security guard murdering a former Saint in cold blood - AND nearly fatally wounding his wife - for something he wasn't even remotely involved with. Will Smith dying by association actually makes me sicker than had he been a mere victim of circumstance. Being in the wrong place and the wrong time is more explicable than dying as a result of a completely misguided act of vengeance that had long past it's statue of limitations, and that's what's so baffling about what took place.
As enraged as I am by this, it doesn't change all that much. Either way a good teammate, a great man, and more importantly a husband and a father are dead. It just makes it that much more difficult to swallow knowing how avoidable this whole situation was. It's almost too stupid to script which is ironic because this whole story is playing out like a bad movie. A bad movie where the good guy dies far, far too soon for no other reason than dramatic effect. If only this were taking place on a big screen so all it took was a couple minutes of ranting and some angry tweets to get over. Instead it cost a man his life, a family it's patriarch, and a city one of it's champions. With the reasoning for the shooting being so illogical, the criminal in this case is nearly as unforgivable as his victim is unforgettable, and the Who Dat Nation will always remember what Will Smith was capable of on and off the football field.
P.S. I seriously can't imagine what it's like to be Pierre Thomas right now. Not only is he mourning the loss of a close friend, but - from what I gathered from this story - he's doing so while realizing it just as easily could have been him. Scary, scary shit.